Natural gas is a colourless, odorless, flammable gas that usually contains about 90% methane.
It can be found in deep underground rock formations, often alongside oil or coal.
It’s one of the main energy sources in the world.
As a lower intensive fossil fuel, natural gas is playing a crucial role in helping the world transition to low-carbon energy production.
Although coal and oil still account for around 60% of global energy consumption, natural gas meets 21% of global demand.
Offering much lower CO2 emissions than other fossil fuels, it’s an important alternative that provides a low-carbon bridge on the road to a zero-carbon future.
Gas-fired electricity generation – such as ENGIE’s Pelican Point
Power Station in South Australia – makes an important contribution to energy security and stability, as well as complementing renewables, such as wind and solar.
Following a $75 million upgrade, the 487MW Pelican Point Power Station is one of the most environmentally friendly of its type in Australia.
How does a gas-fired power station work?
Gas-fired power stations burn natural gas to produce electricity.
There are two main ways they do this – open cycle and combined cycle.
Open Cycle Gas Turbine
Open-cycle production is the most common method. Natural gas is burned to create a pressurised gas, which powers a turbine that is connected to a generator. The turbine turns the magnets in the generator to create electricity.
The Combined-Cycle Gas & Steam Turbine (CCGT) plant generates energy using two different types of turbines in combination: a gas turbine and a steam turbine. In essence, it recycles its fuel to maximise its electricity output. ENGIE’s Pelican Point
Power Station uses this ingenious method of electricity generation.
The hot gases generated by burning natural gas power the gas turbine. The gases are still hot enough to generate steam in a heat recovery boiler which is then used in a steam turbine. The combination of these two thermodynamic cycles increases plant efficiency to in excess of 50%, which is much higher than the 35% to 40% achieved by traditional plants.
Pelican Point Power Station Energy Generation Process