The world has overused fossil fuels for far too long to drive its transportation sector, industrialization, and comfort in households. The negative effects of over-reliance on these fuels are now here with us, the biggest of them all being adverse climate change across the planet. Pollution is now dangerously high to the extent of causing thousands of premature deaths in our cities. To undo the mess that we have helped fossil fuels create over the last century, we now must look for green energy solutions that are adaptable, economical, renewable, and sustainable. That is where the green transition comes in.
Wind and solar energy are some of the examples of green energy sources that, when produced on large scale, will save the world from adverse climate change. Green transition refers to the period between now and the time when the world will have fully gone green in terms of transportation, industrialization, and household cooling & heating. It is hard to predict how long this transition will be, but we can predict that it will take several decades for green energy technology to totally replace the energy infrastructure that we have currently.
Clearly, we need a transition fuel to hold the fort as we wait for renewable energy to take over. Energy experts have identified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as the perfect energy source for the green transition. LNG is the fuel of both today and the future. It is a fossil fuel, alright, but it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel ever known to man. On top of having numerous environmental advantages, LNG is also more affordable than coal and other fossil fuels.
What Are The Environmental Benefits Of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)?
LNG is a natural gas that exists as a clear, odorless, and colorless liquid. Natural gas is liquefied to rid it of sulfur compounds, hydrocarbons, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water. What remains after the liquefaction process is mostly methane with negligible amounts of other hydrocarbons. That is why LNG’s carbon emissions are less than half less than those of coal and almost a third less than those of fuel oil. Its nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions are also insignificant compared to other fuels. Liquefication also reduces both the volume and weight of natural gas, which makes it easier and more cost-effective to contain and transport.
And in case of unwanted spillage in the ocean during shipping, LNG is lighter than water (it floats on top of the water). Skimming it off the top is easier and more efficient than oil fuel, for example. It is by far the second best alternative there can ever be after renewable energy.
The Versatility of LNG
LNG is the perfect fuel for literally all conceivable purposes. It can be used as:
i. Marine fuel
Ship manufacturers have seen the great potential that LNG has. Today, they’re manufacturing container ships and cruise ships that are specially designed to run on LNG. And because it emits almost 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) without compromising on propulsion power, LNG is the best substitute for conventional marine fuels such as marine gas oil (MGO). Using LNG as a marine fuel is a step in the right direction as far as the transition to zero-emission vessels is concerned.
ii. Energy source for industry and communities
Households and industrial players can now use LNG instead of fuel oil, LPG, and coal for their day-to-day operations.
iii. Road vehicle fuel
In France, for example, road transport accounts for about a third of all carbon emissions. LNG is helping address this problem by being the go-to fuel for both regional and long-distance transport.
Interesting fact: Trucks fuelled by LNG are, by estimation, half as noisy as diesel-fuelled trucks.
Exploring the Full Potential of LNG
Investors in the LNG sector are pumping billions of dollars every year into the industry as a way of exploring the full potential of the precious commodity. Some of the notable investors include:
– Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Thani of Qatargas. His company operates up to 14 LNG trains and has a total production capacity of about 77 million tonnes annually.
– Joseph Sigelman of AG&P. His company has over US$300 million in equity infusion from LNG investment in the Philippines, India & Indonesia.
– Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft and Vitol. His company is now one of the biggest LNG suppliers in Asia-Pacific.
– Jack A. Fusco, CEO of Cheniere Energy Inc.
LNG is an integral part of the world’s energy future. It could quite possibly be around even after the transition to green energy, largely because of its low-carbon hydrogen. Its full potential remains to be seen.