The Future of Natural Gas: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study (2010)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (2010). The Future of Natural Gas is the third in a series of MIT multidisciplinary reports examining the role of various energy sources that may be important for meeting future demand under carbon dioxide emissions constraints. In each case, we explore the steps needed to enable competitiveness in a future marketplace conditioned by a CO2 emissions price.

The first two reports dealt with nuclear power (2003) and coal (2007). A study of natural gas is more complex because gas is a major fuel for multiple end uses — electricity, industry, heating — and is increasingly discussed as a potential pathway to reduced oil dependence for transportation. In addition, the realization over the last few years that the producible unconventional gas resource in the U.S. is very large has intensified the discussion about natural gas as a "bridge" to a low-carbon future. We have carried out the integrated analysis reported here as a contribution to the energy, security and climate debate.

Our judgment is that an interim report on our findings and recommendations is a timely contribution to that debate. A full report with additional analysis addressing a broader set of issues will follow later this year. 

Download interim report below.

report-natural-gas.pdf4.91 MB