5 exciting innovations in natural gas

5 exciting innovations in natural gas

We love natural gas. You may have noticed our enthusiasm for Canadian natural gas, and for good reason: 

  • Natural gas stands out as one of the cleanest fuel options when compared to other sources.

  • Natural gas is super reliable thanks to an underground pipeline network spanning over 570,000 kms.

  • Natural gas provides affordable, dependable energy for Canadians, without any disruptions during critical times.

What’s more? These remarkable attributes only scratch the surface of what natural gas can offer. 

In this article, we’ll explore 5 cutting-edge natural gas technologies. These innovations make natural gas better and push the boundaries of energy as we know it. 

Here we go!


1. RNG

RNG, or Renewable Natural Gas, is a type of biogas produced from organic waste sources. Basically, it’s captured methane from the off-gassing of landfill waste, agricultural residue, or wastewater treatment plants. 

RNG is beneficial for several reasons. 

RNG is a renewable energy source

All organic waste decomposes and releases methane gas. Harnessing this natural process keeps the methane out of our atmosphere. It also reduces emissions by offsetting the use of conventional natural gas.

RNG is easy to integrate into existing natural gas infrastructure

Once processed, RNG is identical to regular natural gas. It flows through pipelines and storage facilities in the exact same way. This compatibility helps the industry diversify its energy sources without infrastructure changes.

RNG creates economic opportunity

Canada’s 22 operational RNG production facilities support local communities by creating jobs. RNG employs people in waste management, engineering, gas production, and distribution. Many more facilities are being planned.

RNG promotes a circular economy

Converting organic waste into a valuable energy resource makes RNG extra efficient. It can turn our waste streams into useful energy and reduce our reliance on landfills.

RNG’s environmental benefits, operational flexibility, and economic advantages offer a lot of potential.


2. Hydrogen blending

Hydrogen holds immense promise within the natural gas industry. When harnessed, it’s a versatile and clean energy carrier.

One exciting development is blending hydrogen with natural gas in existing networks. Gradual integration enables a smooth transition for existing infrastructure without requiring extensive modifications. There are now plans to build the first ever 100% hydrogen community in Alberta. We can’t wait to see how this innovation evolves over time.

Hydrogen blending offers several advantages. 

Hydrogen blending reduces emissions 

Hydrogen has the potential to be a zero-emissions energy source. With that, replacing part of our gas supply with hydrogen will reduce emissions. 

Hydrogen blending is flexible 

We can blend hydrogen with natural gas in varying ratios. Doing this allows us to optimize performance and compatibility with the existing natural gas appliances in your home. 

Hydrogen blending is cost-effective 

Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas infrastructure minimizes the need for new investments as the infrastructure is already in place. There are already two operational pilot projects doing this in Canada. 

The first of its kind in North America is in Markham, Ontario. The second one is in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. 


3. Natural Gas Heat Pumps

Natural gas heat pumps are transforming the heating and cooling sector. Unlike a traditional furnace, these innovative devices transfer heat from the outdoor air and move it inside your home. 

Efficient energy from natural gas helps heat pumps regulate residential and commercial spaces. We’re big fans.

Natural gas heat pumps are efficient

Natural gas heat pumps offer significant energy savings. This means reduced monthly bills, reduced emissions, and improved indoor comfort. Even on the coldest days, natural gas heat pumps have efficiencies well beyond 100%.

Natural gas heat pumps are a reliable alternative to conventional heating systems 

Even in cold temperatures, these heat pumps can produce a significant amount of heat. They also do it with less energy consumption than traditional heating systems which translates into lower energy bills, providing serious cost savings over time.


4. Micro combined heat and power (mCHP)

Natural gas-powered micro CHP units are a promising innovation in energy efficiency. These compact systems integrate electricity production and heating in one unit. This means you can produce your own electricity with a natural gas hookup, maximize the utility of natural gas, and reduce waste. 

Here are a few reasons we love them.

Micro CHP units offer energy efficiency

Generating electricity while capturing the heat it produces is just plain smart. By doing this, mCHP units can achieve energy efficiencies of up to 90%.

Micro CHP units help save money

These units are particularly valuable in residential and small-scale commercial settings. Once installed, mCHP units produce heat and electricity, enabling cost savings and environmental benefits. 

Micro CHP units enable self-sufficiency

Natural gas-powered mCHP units decentralize your electricity and heat. Producing your own electricity with a natural gas hookup allows you to reduce your reliance on traditional power grids and lowers emissions. And, when equipped with black tart capabilities (the ability to turn on without electricity from the grid), mCHP units ensure uninterrupted power when the electrical grid has failures. 

5. Carbon capture

Carbon capture technology refers to the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. CO emissions come from various sources, such as heating systems or industrial processes. 

It’s more common at larger scale, but residential and commercial solutions are emerging. One example of carbon capture technology in smaller places is through the flue gas coming from your natural gas furnaces. 

These systems can isolate the captured CO₂ and store it for various uses such as making soap and beauty products. 

An exciting time for natural gas

The natural gas industry is at the forefront of innovation with new technologies that are shaping our energy future.

However, it’s important these innovations continue to flourish. With continued research and development, who knows how far these ideas will spread!

We hope more people adopt these technologies as they become available and can’t wait to see how the natural gas industry continues to innovate. 

One thing is clear: natural gas and its infrastructure have a pivotal role to play in building Canada’s energy future.

If you’d like to see more innovations across the energy sector, help us protect access to natural gas! Raise your voice for energy by visiting our Take action page or sharing this article on social media.