Nowadays, public concern for environmental pollution is an ever-growing and urgent issue, which is pushing our society to opt for more sustainable energy sources, such as renewables.
However, renewable energy is far away from covering alone world energy consumption; besides, there are no functional technologies for its transport. Moreover, renewables depend on favourable climate conditions (e.g. sun, wind), which can fail.
A valuable ally that bridges the gaps is natural gas.
The natural gas extracted from the subsoil – methane – is the cleanest of fossil fuels and it can be used in many different ways for handling semi-processed materials, transports, domestic heating and industrial activities. Natural gas is called “clean” because it is less polluting than coal and it has a lower environmental impact than wind farms and solar panels.
THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL GAS
In the last years, global energy scene has been subject to significant changes, as renewables are progressively gaining ground on the historical fossil fuel energy generators.
The only exception is natural gas, the real protagonist in this energy transition.
The main global institutions agree on using natural gas to reduce concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which contributes to combating climate change. According to the World Energy Outlook 2017 by the IEA (International energy agency), natural gas is the ideal transition energy source for a low carbon future, while waiting for renewables to cover bigger energy needs. And they still have a long way to go.
In 2015, green energy (solar, wind, geothermal) accounted for 1,5% share of global primary energy consumption, which is irrelevant compared to oil (31,8%), coal (28,1%), natural gas (21,6%) and nuclear energy (4,9%).
THE ADVANTAGES OF NATURAL GAS
Besides counterbalancing renewable energy’s variability, natural gas is also favourable for replacing the most polluting fuels.
As a matter of fact, natural gas is less polluting than other fossil fuels: CO2 emissions are 40% lower than coal and 20% lower than oil; moreover, gas combustion does not produce SO2 emissions, while the amounts of particulates are negligible.
Because of its lower CO2 emissions, governments support the use of natural gas both for domestic heating and energy production: its transport is strengthened by LNG (Liquefied natural gas), whom 90% of energy supply projects till 2040 are linked. For this reason, the IEA assumes an equivalent doubling of plants to transport gas by ship to USA, Australia, Russia, Qatar, Mozambique and Canada.
NATURAL GAS IN ITALY
As regards Italy, in November 2017 the National Energy Strategy was presented: it is in compliance with the European Union’s energy package, whose goal is to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, by using natural gas as transition energy source.
This scenario raises an important challenge for Italy, a country with a long history of natural gas and that has an underused distribution system.
Italy is the third largest gas importer in the world: 60% of its energy production depends on imports (the remaining 40% relies on renewables). Russia is its main supplier (51%), followed by Libya (13%), Algeria (13%), Netherlands (8%) and Norway (5%), among the most important.
This massive dependence on gas imports (90% of its demand) causes significant efforts at a political and security level. In Italy there are enormous natural gas deposits waiting to be found and the domestic production of gas would reduce imports from abroad, increase revenue and cause consumer price deflation.
THE ROLE OF ALEANNA: WORKING IN ITALY FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY
This is why AleAnna wants to rise to this challenge and materialise Italy’s huge potential, by relying on cutting-edge technologies and the highest standards of performance and security for the research and production activities of natural gas: working in Italy for the good of the country.