The Nov. 27 editorial “Don’t curb gas utilities; clean them up” begins an important discussion on making the transition from natural gas to renewable energy.
The options discussed, hydrogen and renewable natural gas, may be more sustainable, but both have problems.
Hydrogen is a smaller molecule that leaks more easily and is corrosive to several pipe materials. Once it leaks, the range under which it will explode is more than four times greater than gas. After what we’ve seen in the Merrimack Valley, few will want to assume that risk.
Renewable gas is made from manure or agricultural and food waste. This idea has promise, but not at the scale needed. Boston’s waste treatment plant uses sewage from 3.1 million people, but produces enough power from the methane it generates only to partially run the plant itself. (read more)
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