Natural Gas - The Bridge Fuel to Our Sustainable Future

Bridge Fuel: a clean and abundant source of energy capable of carrying civilization from the solid-based energy sources of the past over the gaps inherent in liquid energy and on to the gaseous energy sources of the future.

When Robert A. Hefner III published The Grand Energy Transition in 2009, he wrote: “Having been deeply immersed in natural gas history for about 50 years, I feel a confidence in my bones that natural gas has finally arrived to take its proper place in the United States as the principal bridge fuel to our sustainable energy and climate future, the Age of Energy Gases.”

Hefner’s concept of natural gas as the bridge fuel to our sustainable future is at the core of the message contained in The Grand Energy Transition, both the book and an accompanying documentary, to be released in April 2012. There are many reasons why natural gas is the ideal bridge fuel. Here are just a few:

  • It’s clean. Unlike coal and oil, natural gas is “carbon light,” with only one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Use of natural gas can significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
  • It’s ready to go and scalable. Because 65 million homes are already on its distribution grid, where you could fill up your natural gas vehicle, natural gas is capable of helping the United States regain its energy and economic security, beginning now.
  • It’s efficient for multiple uses, including making chemical, fertilizer and steel, power generation and transportation. Natural gas power plants use less space, do not require a railroad and cost about half as much to build per megawatt. There are about 13 million natural gas vehicles around the world and the numbers are growing rapidly.

Natural gas is abundant, clean, affordable, and reliable. With the appetite for energy use growing in the developed world – and exploding in the developing world – natural gas’s flexibility and ability to scale up rapidly with in-hand proven technology for so many uses makes it capable of carrying civilization to a sustainable future while unleashing a new American industrial renaissance.

Not only is natural gas an expandable bridge fuel, it is a very mobile bridge fuel. And, natural gas is fully compatible with the rapid development of wind and solar, due to its flexibility and ability to meet generation needs in periods of slack wind or limited sunlight. That’s why natural gas is the ideal bridge fuel to our energy sustainable future.