LNG stands for Liquefied Natural Gas, natural gas transformed into a liquid state through a cooling process. In its liquid form, natural gas has a significantly smaller volume for export, shipping and storage. It is a lower-emission, cleaner-burning fossil fuel that can be used for transportation, marine propulsion or regasified after delivery to a terminal.
What are the advantages of LNG?
In its natural state, gas has a large volume and can only be transported over significant distances by pipeline. In its cooled, liquefied state, it can be transported in tankers, stored and used as a transportation fuel. While it is a fossil fuel, natural gas produces significantly lower emissions than coal or petroleum when burned and even has a smaller CO2 footprint than pipeline-transported gas. In the long run, LNG-powered engines can be run on carbon-neutral, clean-burning synthetic gas, making liquefied natural gas an excellent bridging fuel during the ongoing energy transition.
How do the liquefaction process and regasification of natural gas work?
The blend of methane, ethane, butane and propane found in natural hydrocarbon deposits used to be a byproduct of oil drilling that, in the absence of adequate storage and transportation solutions, largely went to waste. Natural gas liquefaction was developed to harness this untapped energy source around the turn of the last century. In a liquefaction facility, purified methane and ethane are reduced to 1/600th of their gaseous state when condensed and liquefied at −162°C. In its converted form, natural gas becomes an odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive liquid that is easy to transport and store. It can also be used as a transportation fuel. When LNG is brought back to atmospheric temperature in a regasification terminal, for example, with heat exchangers and pumps using sea water, it returns to its original form and volume. The cold energy of the regasification process can be used for industrial purposes on site, further improving the conversion efficiency.
LNG technologies by MAN Energy Solutions
Prior to its new strategy to focus its business more on sustainable solutions, the predecessor companies of MAN Energy Solutions accumulated over a century’s worth of expertise in the invention, construction and maintenance of fossil fuel combustion engines. With the company’s new focus, we are reinvigorating the proven engineering innovations and technologies of our past with the fuels of a decarbonized future. LNG is an important part of the environmentally friendly energy mix that will tide the world economy over to its envisioned fully carbon-neutral goal. It plays a role in reducing the emissions of power plants, is essential to the maritime energy transition and is a useful fuel in many other fields that MAN Energy Solutions is currently preparing for a decarbonized future.
Decentralized small-scale LNG plants
Carsten Dommermuth, Senior Manager, International Business Development at MAN Energy Solutions, published an award-winning paper on the potential of small-scale LNG plants to help island nations master the energy transition. Small Scale LNG – Powering the Future of Asia’s Island Communities outlines specific solutions, based on potential sites in remote locations in the ASEAN area. By replacing old, inefficient and emission-intense plants powered by diesel or heavy fuel oil, they can immediately increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
Groundbreaking conversion to LNG propulsion
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have stipulated that international shipping emissions must be reduced by 50% by 2050. Shipping company Hapag-Lloyd is a trailblazer in taking action towards meeting this goal. The company’s Managing Director of Fleet Management, Richard von Berlepsch, explains how LNG is helping the industry reduce its carbon footprint to meet proposed targets, and how their major project to convert a large container ship to LNG propulsion could set a precedent for environmentally friendly shipping.
Small-scale LNG has the potential to support remote areas and islands with the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation. It is a perfect match with renewables like wind and solar power.