Sunday, December 18, 2011

High Efficiency Furnaces Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Most of us are aware that burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal generates waste gases which are emitted into the atmosphere. It is believed by many scientists that these emissions are largely responsible for the climate changes which are presently underway. there is another school of thought which says that climate changes have been continual over the course of geological time and that the present global warming is a natural occurrence which would take place even if we do not emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It is undoubtedly true that vast climate changes have happened regularly over the milennia. However there is little doubt that even if our greenhpuse gas emissions are not the primary reason for global warming they are certainly contributing to global warming and speeding it up. For this reason many of us want to cut our impact on the atmosphere by reducing our "carbon footprint" as it is often called. Installing a high efficiency gas furnace is one way to make a big cut in the emissions we contribute to the problem. Here is a document published by the  United States Environmental Protection Agency  which discusses the problem of greenhouse gases:

Natural Gas
Electricity Generation Technologies
Natural Gas
Nuclear Energy
Municipal Solid Waste
Non-Hydroelectric Renewable Energy

Electricity from Natural Gas
Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed when layers of buried plants and animals are exposed to intense heat and pressure over thousands of years. The energy that the plants and animals originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of carbon in natural gas. Natural gas is combusted to generate electricity, enabling this stored energy to be transformed into usable power. Natural gas is a nonrenewable resource because it cannot be replenished on a human time frame.
The natural gas power production process begins with the extraction of natural gas, continues with its treatment and transport to the power plants, and ends with its combustion in boilers and turbines to generate electricity.
Initially, wells are drilled into the ground to remove the natural gas. After the natural gas is extracted, it is treated at gas plants to remove impurities such as hydrogen sulfide, helium, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and moisture. Pipelines then transport the natural gas from the gas plants to power plants.
Power plants use several methods to convert gas to electricity. One method is to burn the gas in a boiler to produce steam, which is then used by a steam turbine to generate electricity. A more common approach is to burn the gas in a combustion turbine to generate electricity.
Another technology, that is growing in popularity is to burn the natural gas in a combustion turbine and use the hot combustion turbine exhaust to make steam to drive a steam turbine. This technology is called "combined cycle" and achieves a higher efficiency by using the same fuel source twice.
Environmental Impacts
Although power plants are regulated by federal and state laws to protect human health and the environment, there is a wide variation of environmental impacts associated with power generation technologies.
The purpose of the following section is to give consumers a better idea of the specific air, water, and solid waste releases associated with natural gas-fired generation.
Air Emissions
At the power plant, the burning of natural gas produces nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but in lower quantities than burning coal or oil. Methane, a primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas, can also be emitted into the air when natural gas is not burned completely. Similarly, methane can be emitted as the result of leaks and losses during transportation. Emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury compoundsfrom burning natural gas are negligible.
The average emissions rates in the United States from natural gas-fired generation are: 1135 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.1 Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.2 In addition, the process of extraction, treatment, and transport of the natural gas to the power plant generates additional emissions.
Water Resource Use
The burning of natural gas in combustion turbines requires very little water. However, natural gas-fired boiler and combined cycle systems do require water for cooling purposes. When power plants remove water from a lake or river, fish and other aquatic life can be killed, affecting animals and people who depend on these aquatic resources.
Water Discharges
Combustion turbines do not produce any water discharges. However, pollutants and heat build up in the water used in natural gas boilers and combined cycle systems. When these pollutants and heat reach certain levels, the water is often discharged into lakes or rivers. This discharge usually requires a permit and is monitored. For more information about these regulations, visit EPA's Office of Water Web site.
Solid Waste Generation
The use of natural gas to create electricity does not produce substantial amounts of solid waste.
Land Resource Use
The extraction of natural gas and the construction of natural gas power plants can destroy natural habitat for animals and plants. Possible land resource impacts include erosion, loss of soil productivity, and landslides.

The above material is reprinted from a document published by  The United States Environmental Protection agency

Clearly if we as individuals want to cut our "carbon footprint" by reducing the quantities of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, a high efficiency natural gas furnasce will be a good step in this direction. A furnace with 97% efficiency rating will use 35% to 50% less gas than an older furnace of 50% to 60% efficiency. Hence apart from saving money on our gas bills we are also saving our atmosphere from further pollution. For more information about high efficiency furnaces go to gas furnace prices and to  high efficiency furnaces 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this info about gas furnaces. Really great. Running your furnace on gas can cut a huge amount on bills.

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