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Liquefied Natural Gas paves the way for the future
Natural gas is a mixture of combustible gases that are found down in the earth’s crust. It is no accident that natural gas has become the world’s third most important energy source. From an environmental perspective, it has major advantages compared with other fossil energy sources and constitutes an excellent supplement to an environmentally sound energy supply.
Due to its high-energy content and low carbon content, natural gas can contribute to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. The more oil and coal we replace with natural gas, the fewer carbon dioxide emissions we release, while also reducing emissions of other harmful substances. In the long term, the use of natural gas will prepare our energy management systems for renewable biogas.
Some clear figures show the environmental benefit. Compared with petrol, diesel and heavy oil, natural gas produces 20–30% lower carbon dioxide emissions and 85% lower nitrogen oxide emissions. It produces practically no sulfur emissions and no visible smoke. Compared with thick oil, natural gas provides 95% lower particle emissions.
Boost for natural gas in Sweden
Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG technology, is a major step forward. In its liquefied form, the volume of the gas is reduced to 1/600 which reduces transport costs and allows natural gas to be distributed to areas without gas networks; in principle this means the majority of Sweden apart from the west coast – the location of our only natural gas network.
Liquefied Natural Gas is a flexible form of energy that has incredible potential within industry, shipping and overland transport. Less environmental impact, more efficient combustion and improved production processes are advantages Liquefied Natural Gas provides in many industries. In its liquefied form, natural gas is cleaner than in its original gas form at source. The process of condensing to Liquefied Natural Gas and then re-gasifying it before combustion allows substances with different “boiling points” to be separated.
Liquefied Natural Gas supports infrastructure for gas
Both natural gas and biogas consist chiefly of methane, which fortunately means that they can be mixed. Because of this, natural gas is ideal as an alternative and back-up when there is not enough biogas, which is currently the case. Natural gas contains fewer carbon atoms per unit of energy than oil and coal. Switching to natural gas therefore contributes greatly to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions of other substances such as heavy metals, sulfur nitrogen oxides, dust and soot, are also considerably lower compared with coal, oil and biofuels. Natural gas is highly efficient and produces clean flames, free of dirt and soot, which also results in less wear and tear and a cleaner working environment within both industry and shipping. All of this supports investments in gas infrastructure.
Excise duties create control of lower emissions
In Sweden, we want to encourage the use of fuels that contribute the least to the greenhouse effect. Starting in 2009, energy taxes were raised across the board for fossil fuels and continue to be raised year on year. The plan includes more stringent regulations entering into force from 2015 in the form of new environmental legislation. Because the tax is based on the general carbon dioxide tax, the lower the amount of carbon dioxide that is released, the lower the tax that is levied. Within energy-intensive industries that use large amounts of LP gas, oil and coal, there are major financial benefits to be gained by switching over to natural gas and investing in sustainable infrastructure.
In 2015 , the IMO will introduce stricter regulations for the Baltic Sea
The UN’s maritime organization, IMO, proposes that after 2015 all traffic in the Baltic Sea must use marine diesel or liquefied natural gas in order to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and carbon dioxide.
According to the IMO’s proposal, the current maximum limit of 1 percent by weight of sulfur in the fuel will be revised down from 2015 by 90% to 0.1 percent by weight. More than 300,000 shiploads are transported annually between ports in the Baltic Sea so the new requirements will greatly affect shipping but will also greatly reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur emissions.
Environmental effects – First Finland ferry operating on gas
Our neighbour Norway already has a dozen or so ferries that primarily operate on Liquefied Natural Gas. In Sweden, Viking Line is the first shipping company to have ordered a new ferry that will operate using natural gas and has tanks for natural gas in liquefied form (which maintain -162°C). When the liquid is gasified for engine operation, the temperature must be increased through heat exchangers. This heat is then used on-board for air conditioning, freezers and other cooling systems – an environmentally friendly and excellent use of existing resources. The delivery of the Finland built vessel for 2,800 passengers will take place in December 2012 and the ferry will operate the Stockholm-Åbo line from 2013.
Environmental effects – Liquefied natural gas the environmental choice for Nynas
Greater reliability, safer deliveries and reduced environmental impact – this is what the oil company Nynas expects when it begins using natural gas instead of naphtha as a raw material in its hydrogen production. AGA is responsible for the deliveries from the new terminal for liquefied natural gas. “We see a strategic value in there being natural gas close to our refinery. This is a prime example of a successful industry partnership. We have found natural roles where AGA takes care of the business and assists with land for the facility and buys large volumes,” says Rolf Allgulander, production manager at the Nynas group.
Environmental effect – AGA’s investment in liquefied natural gas reaps major environmental benefits
The demand for biogas for the vehicle market is growing faster than the supply. At the same time, the environmental requirements for both industry and the transport sector are becoming more exacting. This is why AGA has built the Baltic’s first terminal for LNG, in Nynäshamn - a vacuum-insulated thermos tank with a volume of 20,000 m3s. It is the first of its kind in Sweden. The investment in LNG is the biggest in the history of AGA and is based on the fact that LNG is the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel.
“An investment in natural gas is right up-to-date and provides major environmental benefits. Carbon dioxide emissions in the Stockholm region will be reduced by close to 100,000 tons per year when the Nynas refinery and Stockholm Gas replace naphtha with natural gas,” says Peter Jansson, sales manager for LNG at AGA.
Environmental effects – Liquefied natural gas is the new city gas
As 2010 became 2011, Stockholm Gas switched the city gas quality, which was an important step on the way to a reduced climate and environmental impact from energy use. The new city gas is based on natural gas/biogas and air and has better emission data during combustion than the previous gas, which was based on naphtha.
Moreover, the gasworks in Hjorthagen has been replaced with a receiving station and gasification facilities near the CHP plant in Högdalen and a mixing station for gas/air in Södra Hammarbyhamnen. For the time being Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is gasified and mixed with air, but renewable biogas will eventually replace natural gas as the supply of biogas increases.