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LNG: Fueling the Green Revolution for a Sustainable Energy Landscape
Posted by Insightlink on 06/30/23
The energy sector has for many years been destroying our environment through dangerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions- notably Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Carbon compounds. These gases come from burning fossil fuels (notably coal and oil) during electricity generation. GHG gases are responsible for blanketing the Earth and trapping the sun’s heat. That’s what has precipitated the global warming menace that has the planet in a chokehold today.
If the energy industry is the key contributor to climate change, it goes without saying that it has to play a vital role in finding the solution. The industry has to embrace sustainable energy sources to reverse the dire impacts of climate change. There’s an urgent need for the energy sector to halve its GHG emissions by 2030. The ultimate goal is to attain net-zero emission targets by 2050. That means we must switch from oil, coal, and other dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and water.
But before these sources are sufficient to fuel transportation, manufacturing, and domestic energy needs, we will need a transition fuel that’s clean, sufficient in supply, and affordable. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the perfect transition fuel because, although it is a fossil fuel, it emits little to no GHG or pollutants when burning.
The Role of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) In Fueling the Green Revolution
LNG and natural gas continue to play a significant role in fueling the green revolution. When used as a fuel for power generation, LNG cuts GHG emissions by half (relative to coal). It is also quite versatile. It’s used in the industrial sector, transport industry, and as a cleaner alternative to traditional biomass in domestic heating &cooking. In the transport sector, especially heavy-duty road transport and shipping, LNG eliminates particulate emissions that are common with fuel oil. That’s on top of reducing sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions significantly.
There are many more benefits of using LNG as a transition fuel in the green revolution:
1. Clean and reliable for freight transport
Ships and trucks need high onboard energy capacity storage, which makes it hard for renewables to replace conventional fuels (petrol and diesel) in freight transport. LNG is the only fuel that can replace conventional fuels.
LNG as a marine fuel helps shippers to meet the International Maritime Organization (IMO) environmental rules and regulations. Compared to conventional fuels, LNG lowers carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30%. And concerning NOx and particulate matter emissions, LNG cuts these emissions by up to 80% and 99 % respectively. Furthermore, LNG’s sulfur (SOx) content falls within the IMO 2020 global sulfur cap 0.5% target.
For heavy-duty road transport, LNG reduces carbon emissions by at least 20% compared to conventional fuels. LNG engine technologies are growing rapidly, which promises to lower GHG emissions even further. LNG trucks also cut down NOx emissions by 40-80% and particulate matter emissions by 95-100%. SOx emission from LNG trucks is almost negligible. Moreover, energy companies such as AG&P continue investing in compressed natural gas (CNG) stations and LNG pipeline infrastructure. We can forecast the rapid adoption of LNG in the transport sector over the foreseeable future.
2. Ample supply
It is anticipated that, with consistent population growth and urbanization, the energy demand will rise spectacularly in the coming years. The world needs a reliable energy source to meet the anticipated hike in demand.
There are ample recoverable natural gas resources to secure the future of the global energy sector. The natural gas reserves known today have more than 7,000 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). That amount can last us another 1-2 decades at current levels of demand. The world has also witnessed rapid growth in the number of countries supplying LNG as well as advancement in LNG production & distribution technologies over the last 3 decades. This has significantly increased the flexibility and security of natural gas supply.
More importantly, the LNG supply is secure and diverse. There are multiple LNG import points on every continent, which alleviates the market volatility that has plagued the energy sector for centuries. The world doesn’t have to over-rely on one region or country (like it over-depends on Russia for oil products) for LNG.
LNG’s versatility has made it possible to switch from coal to gas in power generation. We now have gas-fired powered plants gradually replacing coal-powered plants. Gas-powered plants are more efficient and cleaner than coal-powered plants on a lifecycle basis. Their greenhouse gas emissions when burnt to generate electricity are 50-60% less than coal plants.
LNG also acts as an enabler of renewable energy. It enables the integration of intermittent renewable electricity into national grid systems around the world. Many countries now produce electricity through regasified LNG as a backup plan for when solar or wind power generation fails due to unfavorable weather.
GHG emissions have a crippling effect on the energy industry over the lifecycle of oil, coal, and gas value chains. However, natural gas, specifically LNG, has intrinsic benefits over other non-renewable energy sources.
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AboutInsightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.
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