Natural gas, like other fossil fuels, has a wide variety of applications. There are new uses being discovered, implemented and advanced all the time by companies like Weatherby Energy. In the early days of natural gas, it was primarily used in street lamps and some limited residential uses. Today, it is used in homes, commercially, in industry and ever increasingly in transportation. Over the last 20-30 years Weatherby Energy has been witness to a wide range of technological advances in the oil and gas industry. So many advances, that the industry is considered by many to be one of the most advanced industries in the US from a technological standpoint. The Energy Information Administration estimates that natural gas currently accounts for 24% of all the energy that is consumed in the US.
In the 1990s demand for natural gas saw a large increase as it began to be used as a fuel for electrical generation. Weatherby Energy sees one of the great benefits of natural gas over coal for use a power-plant fuel is that natural gas gives off about 50% less carbon dioxide than coal. Technological innovations have allowed the natural gas industry to search for, discover and produce greater amounts of natural gas to meet the increase in demand. Some of these innovations have enabled companies like Weatherby Energy to implement new drilling techniques to mine from existing wells that were previously considered to be “dry”. Shale and other formations that have been found to be in abundance in the United States were previously thought to be un-minable. Technological advances have now made shale a viable source for massive deposits of natural gas.
Natural gas has also emerged in the last several years as a fuel in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). While still in limited use in the United States, Weatherby Energy has seen estimates of the worldwide use that top five million vehicles. There are manufacturers currently producing cars, trucks, vans, buses and even SUVs. One of the limitations that NGVs faces in the US has to deal with both the size of the country and the driving habits of Americans. NGVs have a limited range, limited trunk space, higher initial cost (like any other “alternative”- fueled vehicle), and a lack of infrastructure for fueling. Where NGVs have started to gain widespread use is in vehicle fleets that use a lot of fuel, but don’t need to go long distances. Many cities have procured buses that run on natural gas, and some have even required taxis to run on it. NGVs are also popular with companies that make lots of deliveries. Not only has this cut down on the amount of fuel these vehicles use, but it is also reducing the amount of pollution in cities where lots of these vehicles tend to operate. Another way natural gas can be used to power vehicles is when it is combined with diesel fuel. This lets the vehicle to take advantage of the high efficiency of the diesel, and the natural gas’s low-emissions.
Of course, one of the most wide spread uses for natural gas is in the home. It can be used for heating in furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces, cooking and in dryers. Like electricity, natural gas is now available in many homes, and Weatherby Energy has seen the demand steadily increase over the years. In many appliances, natural gas is more efficient than electricity.