Gas Vs Electricity

By Tay Wen Wei 2SA2

Earth , Unsplash

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Wendell Berry

On 22 April, as we celebrate Earth’s Day, American President Joe Biden has announced plans to regain momentum on fighting climate change, or specifically, reaching carbon neutrality. As ordinary citizens, even though we may not be able to make big contributions immediately, we can start small from our kitchen, in particular, our cooktops.

Natural Gas was first marketed to consumer as a clean, reliable energy and the word “natural” give a sense of reassurance to consumers. This is done by lobbyists, in an attempt to clean natural gas, a dangerous pollutant as something natural.

Natural Gas was made accessible to the general public in the 1940s due to a discovery of the method termed “fracking”. This allowed for the recovery of natural gas found underground to be promoted on a large scale. However, there is some controversy behind it that I will uncover in the later section of this post.

Gas Stove, Unsplash

In Singapore, traditional cooktops or the ones that uses natural gas, is something many Singaporeans enjoy because it is able to cook food at high temperature and get the ‘Wok Hey’, also known as charred fragrance, in our food. Traditional cooktops are usually cheaper to purchase as compared to induction cooktops. Furthermore, traditional cooktops have an advantage over induction cooktops, which is the fact that it works on any type of stove. On the other hand, only stoves made of magnetic material like steel or iron will work with an induction hob. So one can no longer use fancy glass pots if they use an induction hob. Gas is also much cheaper than electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as an energy source in Singapore, with an estimated 18.41 cents/kWh for a four room HDB flat as compared to 22.21 cents/kWh.

However, natural gas despite being advertised as a less polluting alternative as compared to fossil fuels like oil and coals, is actually a fossil fuel itself, methane ( the substance cow farts out that have been an issue for global warming) is a powerful greenhouse gas that has 80 times more warming potential as compared to carbon dioxide. Furthermore, it is more likely that for natural gas to leak from its storage holding it, amounting to the amount enough to cancel out the perceived environmental benefits of switching from coal to natural gas. Research have also shown that emissions from a gas stove produce twice as many harmful particle material as compared to an electric stove. The carbon monoxide emissions can also be three to six times higher in homes with a gas stove.

The surge of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which is the process of drilling into earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed deep into the rock formation to release the gas inside. This process could extract hard to reach gas reserves. However controversial lies because this process could contaminate drinking water and cause further leakage of methane gas into the air.

Induction Stove, Unsplash

Modern induction stoves have three times more power, twice as much control and doesn’t have create any pollution. It’s also way safer for children and the elderly, despite induction stoves being more expensive as compared to gas stoves. However, in the long run, due to the efficiency of the induction stove, the overall monthly bill might be cheaper or same in the homes that use electricity.

One might argue that we just have to eliminate the occurence of leaks to reduce the effect of climate change. However, it is not sufficient according to many experts. Hence, it is best to not use gas stovse in the first place

So, now that we know that gas stoves are not as good as we think they are. We should stop using them and use alternatives like induction stoves. To combat climate change, we need to start from small changes like that in our kitchen. And the clock is ticking….

Image credits: Unsplash

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