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CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO COMPLEX MARITIME CHALLENGES
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WHAT IS LNG?
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the same gas you use to heat your home or cook your food. It is predominantly methane (CH4) that has been super-cooled into a liquid state (about -260F at atmospheric pressure).
Why Liquefy Natural Gas? Natural gas currently makes up about 1/4th of the world's energy supply, and demand for natural gas is expected to grow rapidly as petroleum reserves are being depleted.
Natural gas is liquefied mainly for storage and transportation purposes. Converting natural gas into LNG reduces the volume of the gas by roughly 620:1, meaning that one ship can transport 620 times as much gas in one trip.
LNG can be stored at a cryogenic facility, distributed (as liquid) for use as engine fuel, or transformed back into a gas and fed directly into pipelines.
ADVANTAGES OF LNG
Natural gas is clean burning, low priced and abundant. It is capable of bridging from "dirty" fossil fuel sources of energy to the renewable energy sources of the future.
Natural gas is clean.
As one of the world’s cleanest burning fuels, natural gas will be instrumental in reducing Green House Gas emissions. Engines fueled by natural gas produce 20% less carbon dioxide (CO2), 80% less Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and essentially eliminate all Sulfur Oxides (SOx) and particulate (smoke) emissions.
Natural gas is low priced.
When considered on an energy equivalent basis, natural gas can represent a 40% price advantage over light distillate fuel, such as diesel, and, according to the International Energy Agency, these savings are expected to increase to 50% by 2035.
Natural gas is abundant.
With large reserves, including shale gas, in Russia, North America, Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, recent estimates put the global reserves of natural gas at over 6,000 trillion cubic feet.(1) The US alone is said to have enough supply to last over 100 years. And, unlike many renewable technologies, the technologies required to use natural gas as a marine vessel and motor vehicle fuel are developed, proven and available now.
NATURAL GAS IN SOCIETY
Relatively clean natural gas can serve as an important bridging fuel to a greener future. Natural gas fueled vessels and motor vehicles are already increasingly being deployed. In addition to dozens of marine applications, there are now more than 12 million natural gas fueled vehicles worldwide. In 2009 over 300,000 million cubic feet of natural gas were used as vehicle fuel.(2)
In more than 50 years of commercial use, the natural gas industry has had an exemplary safety record. The industry has developed systems and procedures for handling LNG that ensure public security in the unlikely event of an accident. Consequently, there have been very few major incidents resulting from the use of LNG. The production, storage, transportation and use of LNG is as safe as (or safer than) that of any other commercial fuel.
For more information, please see the US Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy website.