Big Foot(print)

5/16/09 – Armed Forces Day

The Physical Footprint

The buzzword of the day has been the carbon footprint. Here we can see that natural gas, while not necessarily the fuel of choice, may really be the hydrocarbon of choice for electric generation on an emissions basis. The following table makes this comparison on for pounds of the pollutant per billion BTUs.


Natural Gas


Particulates 5 3,100
Sulfur Dioxide 1 1,700
Nitrous oxides 100 834
Carbon Dioxide 115 210

Then there is the physical footprint of various energy sources. This table shows the acreage required for the equivalent energy output.

Energy Form


Natural Gas  0.5 (Well Site)
Solar Panels 46
Wind 300
Biomass 402

Here in my home state of Colorado, we recently were producing 3.7 BCF/day from about 25,000 wells. The equivalent energy produced from wind would require about 62,000 turbines covering 3,500 square miles.

This is just another way of looking at energy density. That is the BTUs per pound, liter or cubic meter. While is other way of looking at the footprint is interesting depending on your curiosity, perhaps this should be expanded to include many more forms of energy and do it on a BTU/acre/dollar. Are there any students out there looking for a paper topic?

(Data from Scott Moore)

Click here for more information about Confessions of an Energy Price Forecaster: A 12 Step Program to Enlightenment

Click here for John Tobin's full bio


PennEnergy Microblogs are designed to provide visitors with a handful of rich, closely-related, point-in-time energy insights by a single blogger. The purpose of PennEnergy microblogs is to initiate a conversation with readers about contemporary issues in the Energy industry. Microblogs are perfect for contributors who do not want to be tied down to a weekly blogging schedule, but who have solid, noncommercial, multi-installment content to offer.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...

Reduce Engineering Project Complexity

Engineering document management presents unique and complex challenges. A solution based in Enter...

Revolutionizing Asset Management in the Electric Power Industry

With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessib...

Latest PennEnergy Jobs

PennEnergy Oil & Gas Jobs