GE Study Finds Billions Wasted in Natural Gas Flaring

Vehicle manufacturers around the world are working hard to reduce the amount of fuel that their cars and trucks use for a variety of reasons, some of them commercial (given rising fuel prices, people like to buy cars that provide more miles per gallon), some of them legislative (not only are there fuel efficiency standards, but emissions requirements as well, and if you burn less fuel, you create fewer exhaust gases and particulates that have to be handled). This week GE released a study that really makes you wonder why there seems to be so much attention placed on the auto industry when it comes to emissions.

Vehicle manufacturers around the world are working hard to reduce the amount of fuel that their cars and trucks use for a variety of reasons, some of them commercial (given rising fuel prices, people like to buy cars that provide more miles per gallon), some of them legislative (not only are there fuel efficiency standards, but emissions requirements as well, and if you burn less fuel, you create fewer exhaust gases and particulates that have to be handled).

This week GE released a study that really makes you wonder why there seems to be so much attention placed on the auto industry when it comes to emissions.

According to Flare Gas Reduction: Recent Global Trends and Policy Considerations, an estimated 5% of all of the world’s natural gas production is simply burned off—a.k.a., flared—on an annual basis.

The amount of gas being simply vented and burned off releases 400 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

This means that the amount of CO2 emitted by 77 million automobiles is being burned off, doing no useful work.

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2011 Honda Civic GX: Powered by natural gas.

From the standpoint of cost, that gas, which, the study says, is equivalent to 30% of the consumption in the European Union and 23% in the United States, is worth nearly $20-billion.

According to Michael Farina, program manager at GE Energy and author of the study, “Power generation, gas-reinjection and distributed energy solutions are available today and can eliminate the wasteful practice of burning unused gas. This fuel can be used to generate affordable electricity for the world’s homes and factories.”

Meanwhile, poof!