Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

August 18, 2013

Powering the future

Natural gas becoming prime energy source


VALDOSTA — Natural Gas Infrastructure

With natural gas already in use throughout the country, there are more than 2.3 million miles of natural gas infrastructure in the U.S. The Langdale Fuel Company only had to tap into existing infrastructure lines, located around the industrial park, in order to establish the fueling station.

At the grand opening Friday, Michael DelBovo, president of Saddle Creek Transportation and one of the Langdale Fuel CNG station’s first customers, extolled the many virtues of natural gas, noting that with the delivery system underground, weather disruptions would not halt delivery.

During Hurricane Katrina and other storms which have affected the Gulf region, the southeastern U.S. experienced shortages of gasoline as the supply chain came to a standstill.

Environmental impact

Natural gas produces less than half of the smog-producing pollutants of other fossil fuels, according to the Department of Energy. The DOE states half of all air pollution and more than 80 percent of air pollution in cities is caused by gasoline and diesel emissions from cars and trucks throughout the U.S.

Although natural gas is comprised largely of methane, a greenhouse gas, the Energy Information Administration states that 81 percent of greenhouse gases are from energy-related carbon dioxide, produced by burning coal and oil. The increased production of methane from using natural gas would be offset by the accompanying reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, according to the EIA.

Natural gas also burns cleanly and quietly, and DelBovo stated Friday that no longer would people have to complain about heavy diesel emissions or noise from trucks which have been converted to CNG.

While the extraction process has become more technologically advanced, allowing the U.S. to drill into shale to release abundant reservoirs of natural gas, the process is also reliant on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking has been linked in some areas of the Midwest with earthquakes, soil disruption and groundwater contaminants. The DOE has partnered with other federal agencies to address the concerns and find ways to ensure the extraction process is safe and environmentally responsible.

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