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August 25, 2011

CMU Report Finds Marcellus Shale Gas Emits Less Greenhouse Gases Than Coal

Chris HendricksonCarnegie Mellon’s Chris Hendrickson (right), Paulina Jaramillo and their colleagues report that life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from Marcellus Shale natural gas are not as high as life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from coal, when used by the electric power sector — the major sector in which these fuels compete.

“Marcellus Shale gas emits 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any U.S. coal-fired plant,” said Hendrickson, the Duquesne Light Co. Professor of Engineering and co-director of the Green Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon. “We favor extraction of Marcellus Shale natural gas as long as the extraction is managed to minimize adverse economic, environmental and social impacts.”

The Marcellus Shale vein stretches across Pennsylvania and New York with more than 50 percent of the 2011 interstate pipeline projects dedicated to that shale extraction. Jaramillo said natural gas will serve a critical role in supporting the increasing penetration of renewable energy, and the Marcellus Shale resources will allow the nation to depend on a domestic resource to meet this demand.

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