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Natural Gas and Decarbonization: The Powerful and Hidden Role


Natural gas is often characterized as a transition fuel on the road to decarbonizing our energy future. Electrification is increasingly promoted as the “Holy Grail” of decarbonization, made possible by expansion and anticipated dominance of wind and solar. That view is incomplete. Methane as a fuel is immensely important to our energy security, energy efficiency in all sectors of our economy, energy system resilience, economic justice and environmental sustainability. This presentation provides a sampling of that importance focusing on the unrecognized existing roles of natural gas in decarbonization and the largely ignored future decarbonization potential.



Thomas Manjarres 
Energy Engineer II
Franklin Energy

Thomas Manjarres is an energy engineer at Franklin Energy and is based in Chicago. He works on the Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas Energy Efficiency Research and Development Program (R&D Program). The R&D program looks to expand the current PGL/NSG Energy Efficiency Program offerings through rigorous evaluation and testing of next-generation technologies. The program works with a variety of stakeholders, including other utility companies, universities, nonprofits, and U.S. Department of Energy and many others on developing and commercializing innovative technologies from early stage prototypes to field testing in the marketplace. This work also includes market transformation efforts that focus on identifying, evaluating, and testing promising programmatic interventions that may help underutilized technologies gain a stronger foothold in the market. Thomas has an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.S. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.