What is LNG? Why is it trending right now?

What is LNG?
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We have often heard this word “LNG”. Like, the government is setting new facility for LNG in India. The government has decided to open new LNG stations across the country… The government has released a purchase order to buy new LNG-driven vehicles for public transport and so much such news.

So basically, What is this LNG? ..For understanding LNG, you need to understand what is energy and different sources of energy. So, let us understand first about energy.

In simple words “Energy is the ability to do work” and it can be in potential, kinetic, chemical, electrical, thermal, or nuclear form. This means that using these energies we can get some work done like cooking, heating, transportation, etc.

For our day-to-day energy needs, we require some fuels which can be utilized to do the useful work. These fuels can be wood, cow dung, paper, sawdust, coal, charcoal, diesel, petrol, natural gas, furnace oil, kerosene, etc. 

These all sources of energy are directly or indirectly available from nature only. And we use them on daily basis. Every industrial process is based on the use of one of these fuels. And we are dependent on them.

LNG stands for “Liquefied Natural Gas”. Which is Natural gas in liquid form. So let us understand Natural Gas first.

Natural gas is a fossil energy source that formed deep under the earth’s surface. The largest component of natural gas is methane.

Millions to hundreds of millions of years ago and over long periods, the remains of plants and animals were buried in thick layers on the earth’s surface and ocean floors, sometimes mixed with sand, silt, and calcium carbonate. Over time, these layers were buried under sand, silt, and rock. 

Pressure and heat changed some of this carbon and hydrogen-rich material into coal, some into oil (petroleum), and some into natural gas. By drilling into the earth, we can produce Natural gas.

As compared to Natural Gas, LNG is easy to transport in bulk. As natural gas compresses when cooled down at -160°C gets converted into liquid form and becomes 600 times lesser in volume. That means when you see one bottle of LNG, using that same bottle you can fill 600 bottles of Natural Gas. 

The boiling point of LNG is -160° which means it will stay in liquid form below this temperature. (E.g., at -161°C, -165°C… so on), and it will start evaporating above this temperature (at temperature -159°C, -145°C …. -140°C towards positive temperature, and so on).

LNG is chemical energy. And this chemical energy can be further converted into chemical to thermal, thermal to kinetic, and kinetic to Electrical energy. So, this satisfies the law of conservation of energy that: “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can be only converted to one form to another form”. 

The main content of LNG is Methane. LNG contains about 90%-95% of Methane. It is a highly flammable hydrocarbon, and it is the cleanest among fossil fuels. This means it pollutes the environment less as compared to other fossil fuels.

 Compositions contained by LNG: (Ref. Google)

Composition Unit Lean LNG Rich LNG
Methane Mol% 96.60 84.20
Nitrogen Mol% 00.20 00.01
Ethane Mol% 03.20 11.00
Propane Mol% 00.00 03.15
i-Butane Mol% 00.00 00.60
n-Butane Mol% 00.00 00.80
i-Pentane Mol% 00.00 00.25
n-Pentane Mol% 00.00 00.00
Image source: Google

Methane has low carbon content in its composition. It has only one carbon and four hydrogens, its chemical formula is “CH4 ”. This implies that one atom of carbon is connected with four individual hydrogen atoms forming a covalent bond between them.

When we fire Natural gas, it generates Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) but generates 40-50% less Carbon dioxide (CO2) as compared to other hydrocarbons, and it results in a reduced greenhouse effect. And helps us in reducing global warming.

CH4 + 2O2→ CO2+ 2H2O Heat Energy

It is cheaper on the coast and easy to handle as compared to other gases. This is what makes it a popular energy source.

Properties of LNG/NG

  • It is odorless (You can’t smell it if it leaks)
  • It is colorless (You can’t see it if it leaks)
  • It is nontoxic (it is not hazardous gas if we inhale it, is but it can cause a deficiency of oxygen) 
  • It is non-corrosive (It cannot react with any other substance by chemical reaction)

Hazards of LNG: 

  • LNG is cryogenic material and its direct physical contact or spillage is hazardous.
  • It is non-toxic, but it may cause deficiency of oxygen when released in large volumes.
  • Its flammability is also a hazard.

In global markets, LNG demand is increasing due to its cost-effectiveness and cleanliness as discussed above and governments are also encouraging industries to reduce carbon emissions. These types of initiatives are inspiring industries to increase the use of Natural gas and reduce carbon footprints.

According To the ministry of coals, India. in 2021 major production of electricity is achieved through coal-based thermal power plant which is around 75% of the total power generation. And as per the Paris agreement, 2015 government has decided to reduce this no. and that’s why few of the states of India have rejected new thermal-based power plant projects. And have started working on the gas-based power plant.

As per the Paris agreements, all the representatives of different countries have taken the pledge to reduce the carbon footprints by reducing CO2 emissions

government has declared that our country will reduce its carbon footprints by 50% by 2050. And contribute to reducing the global warming effect. 

Now the question arises how we can achieve this target? … Answer is very simple, for achieving this target we have to use fewer fossil fuels which emit more carbon to the atmosphere, and use more renewables like wind and solar energies, government is also focusing on adopting new technologies.

But it is not that easy to shift directly on renewables so, we are trying to increase fuels with low carbon emissions. And natural gas is the best substitute for this.

Note: This article is written on our best knowledge, Actual data may differ.

For Reading such insightful blogs click here.

Ref.: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/

5 thoughts on “What is LNG? Why is it trending right now?”

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  2. Pingback: How LNG regasification terminal work? | KnowledgeMandir

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