What is LNG and how can it reduce emissions?
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With climate change issues more prevalent than ever, the world turns to more sustainable resources to power our cities and fuel transportation. Providing more energy to people and coping with the increasing technological world, whilst also reducing the impact on the planet, is one of the 21st century’s greatest challenges. Renewable energy sources, such as and , are a great alternative for businesses trying to reduce their emissions and boost their green credentials. However, the technology to utilise these clean resources cannot cope with demand, so how else can we power our business and transport our goods cleanly?
LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is the cleanest fossil fuel. Created over millions of years ago through the transformation of organic materials – such as plankton and algae – and stored in the earth, LNG was first discovered in 1820 by British scientist, Michael Faraday, who successfully turned the natural gas into a liquid. LNG is 95% methane, and the combustion process primarily releases water vapour and small amounts of carbon dioxide. The CO2 emissions of LNG are 30-50% lower than those produced by other combustible fuels, such as coal.
This natural resource is predominantly found in countries such as Algeria, Qatar, Russia, Nigeria, Norway, and the USA. To transport this natural gas, pipelines are used to reach the market; however, due to the wide spread of geographical locations, this isn’t always possible. So, the natural gas is cooled and transformed into liquid form at a chilling -160oC, to be transported more easily, primarily on LNG carrier ships. This is the liquefied natural gas that we use today. An odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive substance.
What is LNG used for?
LNG can be used in a variety of ways, from domestic use to large-scale commercial and production. If you’re a business owner and wondering how you can reduce your company’s emissions, then you may be wondering what is LNG used for and how could it help your business boost its green credentials? Below are some of the most popular uses of LNG.
LNG as fuel
The primary use for LNG is in transport. Cars, trucks, lorries and ships used by municipalities and businesses are powered by natural gas, though it is available for consumers to buy it as fuel too. Natural gas fuel is significantly cheaper than gasoline and sales of LNG have nearly tripled in the US alone. Liquefied natural gas is becoming so popular that car manufacturer, Honda, have made a natural gas-powered Civic Sedan that achieves 36 miles per gallon.
Domestic LNG uses
LNG can be used in the home, such as for cooking, heating and generating electricity. The most common uses for natural gas in the home include fireplaces, tumble dryers and providing gas to stoves and ovens. It is steadily becoming one of the most used sources of energy in homes, particularly across the USA, China and Brazil. In fact, 80,000 housing estates in Shenzhen, China, have been converted to using LNG and, in Brazil, 98% of households have access to LNG through government policies.
The domestic LNG market was booming in the early 2000’s, due to cheap gas prices, however the era of cheap natural gas is now coming to an end to demand drastically outpacing new supply. Although this is bad for homeowners who use LNG, it’s a positive step towards increasing technology to utilise more natural gas for the domestic market, and helping to achieve green goals. However, with the right utility company, homeowners can save money on their domestic utilities whilst also using green providers.
Commercial LNG uses
LNG is also used commercially and it’s often the fuel of choice for businesses in geographically remote locations. LNG is mainly used in food processing, the bottling of beverages and aggregates and asphalts. Liquefied natural gas is also used in the manufacturing of many items, such as pet food, fertilisers, paints, medicines and dairy products.
By using LNG, large businesses can reduce their energy costs and cut their emissions. Dairy Partners cut their energy bills by 29% and CO2 emissions by 30% after they started using LNG*. If you’re inspired to use greener alternatives for your business, then why not switch to green providers? They can help your business earn green credentials and save you money on your utilities. If you’re struggling to find sustainable providers, or don’t have time (we understand, you’re running a business after all!), then why not contact one of our friendly experts who will personally find you the best energy deals?
Advantages of LNG
Liquefied natural gas is highly versatile, serving various different industries. Due to its adaptable nature, LNG’s primary advantage is that it allows remote locations to access power and electricity. It is also simpler and more economical to produce than fossil fuels, and the price remains more stable than other fuels, though it has been increasing due to demand.
LNG is cleaner than fossil fuels, as we’ve mentioned. During the combustion process, it produces significantly less CO2, NOX and SO2 and virtually no ash or particulates. It evaporates quickly and leaves no residue on water or soil, meaning the environment isn’t affected.
When stored in liquid form, LNG can’t ignite, making it one of the safest forms of fuel and power. Plus, there’s a lot of it! In fact, it’s estimated there’s around 7,177 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves worldwide, enough to last us for around 200 years at our current consumption rates.
Disadvantages of LNG
We’ve mentioned that LNG is very safe; however, the problem with natural gas is that it’s colourless and odourless, so even though it’s non-toxic, it can be hard to detect a leak. Invisible gases can cause large fires and explosions and carries the risk of suffocation. Thankfully, natural gas cannot burn or explode on its own, however, to comply with safety precautions, chemicals are usually added so you can smell the leak. The disadvantage of this? It’s usually sulphur that’s added, so your office or home may end up smelling of rotten eggs.
Another disadvantage of LNG is that it is still a fossil fuel, and so still emits CO2. It’s a non-renewable energy source too, so eventually it will run out. As the world continues to progress in the technological and digital space, we will require more power and electricity, and so relying on LNG may become a problem.
LNG is an exciting resource that will allow businesses to improve their impact on the environment and save money on their utilities. Looking to save money on your business gas and electricity? Then why not let our expert utilities team find you the best deals on the market? Join the 68,000 other UK businesses we’ve helped save around 45% on their utility bills.
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