Ever wonder how electricity from natural gas is being produced? Where is natural gas coming from? Is it safe for the environment?
You will definitely know the answers as you read along. But first, let’s get to know a bit of natural gas.
Natural gas, just like coal and oil, is fossil fuel. However, unlike the other two, it is highly abundant. Natural gas is even deemed to be clean, giving off less carbon dioxide level and pollutants. Now, it’s time to dive deeper. Let’s get to know where is natural gas coming from, and how it is being generated into electricity.
- 1 How does a natural gas power station produce electricity?
- 2 What are ways for natural gas to generate electricity?
- 3 What is the impact of natural gas on the environment?
- 4 Conclusion
How does a natural gas power station produce electricity?
Here are the steps on how electricity is being generated:
- First, prior to producing electricity, natural gas should be piped and buried beneath the ground to power plants.
- After the power plants will incinerate the natural gas, then boils the water which later on turns into steam.
- The turbine blades, that are attached to a generator, will be spun by steam.
- Then, the generator moves the magnet in a circular motion that produces electricity.
- The electricity will then pass through power plants and provide power to houses and establishments.
Because of its clean effect, more and more power plants use natural gas as fuel to generate electricity. It has become very popular indeed. Way back 1970s and 1980s, nuclear power plants or large coals were often the choices for electricity generation. But, because of drastic changes in the environmental, economic, and technological aspect; in the 1990s, natural gas has become the leading choice for most power plants.
While coal remains to be the cheapest fuel for electricity production, it is still very dirty and releases high-volume of air pollutants. Hence, the increased usage of natural gas.
What are ways for natural gas to generate electricity?
There are various ways that natural gas can be generated to produce electricity. These are the following:
The most basic means of electricity production is by steam generators or steam generation units. Fossil fuels are incinerated in a boiler for water heating which then produces steam. After, the heated water turns a turbine to produce electricity. Even though large steam generators are mostly used by coal or nuclear plants, natural gas can be used for such process as well. This type of units only produces 33 to 35 percent of thermal energy that is used for steam generation, which is then transformed into electrical energy.
Centralized Gas Turbines
Centralized gas turbines are also utilized for electricity generation. These unit types used hot gases from incinerated fossil fuels to turn the turbine and produce electricity. Combustion engines and gas turbine are used mainly for peak-load needs since they are easy to turn off and turn back on. Using these plants have become popular due to technology innovation and natural gas availability. Despite its popularity, these units are kind of less efficient than power plants who use large steam units.
Natural Gas Fired Turbines
Natural gas-fired turbines or industrial gas-fired turbines produce electricity similar to large centralized gas turbines. These turbines are placed close to where the electricity is produced. These type of units are lightweight and very easy to use and are mostly used by medium to large sized buildings like commercial, hospitals, schools, industrial plants, etc. with an efficiency 60%.
Moreover, natural gas-fired turbines can be utilized in combined cycle units. Since these units provide more advantages, a great amount of research is being developed to create a more advanced natural gas-fired turbines.
Reciprocating Engines that are Natural Gas-fired
This type of natural gas-fired unit is also used for electric generation for on-site locations. These units are also called as combustion engines that convert energy from fossil fuels and turn them into mechanical energy. The converted mechanical energy will then spin a piston to produce electricity.
Fuel units are becoming more and more significant for electricity generation. Not to mention, they offer a wide variety of benefits and are great areas for innovation and advancement for electricity distribution.
Combined Cycle Units
Combined cycle units are what natural gas power plants mostly known for. These type of units have both a steam unit and a gas turbine combined. The gas turbine pretty much does the same thing as normal gas turbine. Utilizing hot gases that were released from flaring natural gas that will spin turbines and produce electricity, similar to a steam unit.
Since combined cycle units are very efficient to use in terms of releasing heat energy from natural gas, they are significantly more dynamic and effective compared to gas turbines or steam units. As a matter of fact, combined cycle units can obtain up to 50 to 60 percent thermal efficiencies.
For the last unit type, we have microturbines. These are mini industrial natural gas turbine versions. As the name suggests, they produce a small amount of electric output. With the capacity to only generate 25 to 500 kW (kilowatts) of electricity. These units are ideal for small sizes establishments.
Microturbines usage cons are the following:
- Size is compact. It’s about the same size as refrigerators.
- Parts are lightweight and small.
- More efficient
These units can obtain electricity production of up to 80 percent. Also, microturbines are self-contained electricity system generator designed to be anchored by automatic control valves. You may check out www.xhval.com for different valve options.
What is the impact of natural gas on the environment?
Despite being very efficient, natural gas usage for electricity still creates an impact on our environment. However, unlike coal and nuclear plants, the impact extent is not that greatly intense. The main reason is that natural gas emits less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
Regardless, environment control must strictly be observed. This is also to ensure that there is no methane (harmful gas) being released during the combustion process.
Electricity is essential for without it, it is as if we are living in a dark abyss. Most of the things we use on a daily basis are electricity dependent. Therefore it pays to know where it is coming from and how it is being produced. These pieces of information will surely enlighten some of your questions about natural gas power plants generating electricity.