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Climate benefits of natural gas as a bridge fuel and potential delay of near-zero energy systems

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  • Zhang, Xiaochun
  • Myhrvold, Nathan P.
  • Hausfather, Zeke
  • Caldeira, Ken

Abstract

Natural gas has been suggested as a “bridge fuel” in the transition from coal to a near-zero emission energy system. However, the expansion of natural gas risks a delay in the introduction of near-zero emission energy systems, possibly offsetting the potential climate benefits of a gas-for-coal substitution. We use a schematic climate model to estimate CO2 and CH4 emissions from integrated energy systems and the resulting changes in global warming over various timeframes. Then we evaluate conditions under which delayed deployment of near-zero emission systems would result in loss of all net climate benefit (if any) from using natural gas as a bridge. Considering only physical climate system effects, we find that there is potential for delays in deployment of near-zero-emission technologies to offset all climate benefits from replacing coal energy systems with natural gas energy systems, especially if natural gas leakage is high, the natural gas energy system is inefficient, and the climate change metric emphasizes decadal time scale changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xiaochun & Myhrvold, Nathan P. & Hausfather, Zeke & Caldeira, Ken, 2016. "Climate benefits of natural gas as a bridge fuel and potential delay of near-zero energy systems," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 317-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:167:y:2016:i:c:p:317-322
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.10.016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Saghafifar, Mohammad & Gadalla, Mohamed, 2017. "Thermo-economic evaluation of water-injected air bottoming cycles hybridization using heliostat field collector: Comparative analyses," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1230-1246.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:156-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:129:y:2019:i:c:p:268-278 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pfeiffer, Alexander & Millar, Richard & Hepburn, Cameron & Beinhocker, Eric, 2016. "The ‘2°C capital stock’ for electricity generation: Committed cumulative carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector and the transition to a green economy," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 1395-1408.
    6. repec:eee:appene:v:206:y:2017:i:c:p:739-750 is not listed on IDEAS
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    10. repec:gam:jeners:v:12:y:2019:i:3:p:351-:d:200186 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Vedachalam, N. & Ramesh, S. & Srinivasalu, S. & Rajendran, G. & Ramadass, G.A. & Atmanand, M.A., 2016. "Assessment of methane gas production from Indian gas hydrate petroleum systems," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 649-660.
    12. repec:eee:energy:v:173:y:2019:i:c:p:598-609 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Liu, Liuchen & Zhu, Tong & Pan, Yu & Wang, Hai, 2017. "Multiple energy complementation based on distributed energy systems – Case study of Chongming county, China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 329-336.
    14. repec:eee:energy:v:152:y:2018:i:c:p:594-600 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Chen, S.J. & Fu, Y. & Huang, Y.X. & Tao, Z.C. & Zhu, M., 2016. "Experimental investigation of CO2 separation by adsorption methods in natural gas purification," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 329-337.
    16. repec:eee:appene:v:241:y:2019:i:c:p:548-566 is not listed on IDEAS
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    18. repec:eee:enepol:v:110:y:2017:i:c:p:518-524 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:enepol:v:120:y:2018:i:c:p:144-157 is not listed on IDEAS

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