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Why Natural Gas Engines are Better for the Environment Than Diesel

Updated: Mar 15

For decades, diesel-fueled engines and generators have been the default choice for backup and prime-power commercial generators. But as emissions and greenhouse gases become more and more scrutinized, natural gas fueled engines and generators have emerged and provide environmental advantages over diesel powered generators.


Air pollution – especially in geographic areas that have strict air-quality guidelines - is one of the largest concerns with diesel generators. Advances have been made in diesel generators: from tier 1 diesel generators to tier 4 final generators. Each tier represents improved emissions. However, the underlying issue is how diesel combusts as compared to natural gas. Natural gas combusts more evenly and completely leading to fewer particulates as compared to diesel.


Overall, the following are the measured benefits of natural gas engines as compared to diesel engines.

  • 20-30% less CO2 compared to diesel.

  • 99% less Sulphur oxide compared to diesel

  • 80% less nitrogen oxide compared to diesel

  • No heavy metals nor soot particles. (1)



As a result, natural gas is widely considered the cleanest burning of fossil fuels.


Diesel generators must be equipped with substantial after treatment equipment and particulate matter traps to help mitigate emissions. These additions add cost, add maintenance and reduce reliability.


Some projects and air districts permits require generators to comply with BACT guidelines (2) (Best Available Control Technology). Natural gas generators are BACT compliant providing the best environmental solution for temporary generator power. Consider using natural gas on your next generator project.



(1) https://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/compression/blog/natgassolution-part-1-clean-natural-gas-stack-race-reduce-emissions/

(2) http://www.aqmd.gov/home/permits/bact


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