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23
Oct
2018

An energy mix where natural gas and green gas have their place

At a time when the energy landscape is looking less carbon-intensive, natural gas is positioned in the future energy mix as the energy of transition: it is abundant, low carbon and can be a real partner for renewable energies.

A balanced mix that is adapted to uses, geographies and environmental impact.

As an energy of transition, natural gas will guarantee the energy system

For ENGIE, gas has an important part to play in the energy transition. It is the least polluting fossil energy and it is available immediately, which in the short term makes it an alternative to coal (half the carbon dioxide emissions), heating fuel and diesel. It can be brought online at any time, so it is also the ideal back-up for wind and solar energies in electricity production, by compensating for their intermittence.

For some uses – in heating, industry and mobility – it is an indispensable form of energy.

Gas storage facilities and gas-fired power plants are the only solutions in the short and medium term that can guarantee the security and flexibility of the electricity system, particularly during periods of peak demand.

Key figures (source: Eurogas):

On the European level, substituting gas for coal would immediately result in a fall in carbon dioxide emissions of between 30% and 80% (depending on the power plants) in electricity generation
- Replacing petroleum by gas (NGV and LNG) in all forms of transport (sea, rail, road freight, passenger vehicles) would bring down carbon dioxide emissions by 25%, nitrogen oxide emissions by between 60% and 95%, particulates by 95%, and sulfur oxide emissions by 100%.

Making the uses of natural gas carbon-free: the potential of green gases combines the circular economy, energy sobriety and the reduction of waste

It is now possible to decarbonize uses of natural gas thanks to biomethane and, in the near future, the development of synthetic methane and hydrogen, while maintaining customers’ installations and the network infrastructures that supply them, and developing others, such as electrolyzers for gas production and for refilling stations for mobility solutions.

ENGIE is investing in these technologies and infrastructures for refueling heavy and light commercial vehicles and captive fleets (150 NGV filling stations in France) and is carrying out research into mobility using renewable hydrogen (SymbioFCell, GNVERT filling station at Rungis and hydrogen bus service in Pau).

Green gases can be employed for uses such as heating in the residential and commercial sectors, industries whose processes cannot be converted to electricity at viable cost and efficiency, and the development of green mobility for heavy trucks.

Easily storable, green gases provide flexibility both in terms of use (heat, electricity, mobility, raw material) and of coping with summer/winter variations in consumption.

The development of green gases, like that of renewable sources of electricity, creates value for the both the national economy (through growth in new technological and industrial sectors) and the local economy (through the creation of local jobs and the development of the circular economy).

Through its dedicated subsidiary, ENGIE Biogaz, the Group supports farmers, farming cooperatives, agri-food producers and local authorities in all stages of their projects to develop this form of clean energy. Reducing volumes of waste, diversifying the regional energy mix with a decentralized energy with a cost that is stable over time, contributing to the preservation of natural resources, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and replacing fertilizers with methanation digestates are all key issues at regional level.

Biogas has a range of benefits:

  • Waste recovery.
  • Reduced use of chemical fertilizers: methanation transforms 95% of waste into fertilizers, with a beneficial effect on the soil. This also reduces carbon dioxide emissions linked to the manufacture of chemical fertilizers (1 kg of chemical fertilizer generates 7 kg of carbon dioxide emissions).
  • Creation of local jobs needed for the development and operation of the installations, estimated at 10,000 by 2030.
  • Additional annual revenue for farmers of roughly €15,000,compared to their current average revenue of €25,000 (source: ADEME)

In parallel, ENGIE is working on the development of renewable hydrogen, produced by electrolysis of water. Linking all the energy systems (electric, gas, liquid, etc.), hydrogen, whether pure or combined with recycled carbon dioxide to produce synthetic fuel, can satisfy the majority of current energy uses, offering the development of green mobility, the decarbonization of intensive industrial uses of hydrogen (fertilizers, refineries, chemicals, etc.) and better integration of intermittent renewable energies in the energy system. A solution for storing surplus electricity through Power-to-Gas and Gas-to-Power, hydrogen enables many energy uses to become carbon-free.

You will find a series of articles, interviews and key figures on ENGIE’s view of the energy mix on our dedicated page.

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