Originally used for efficient transportation of natural gas, LNG is becoming increasingly common as a fuel for trucks. When it comes to cutting costs and reducing the environmental impact of commercial vehicles, LNG makes it easy.
When it is cooled to -162°C, natural gas becomes a liquid with only a six-hundredth of its original volume. This means it takes up much less space, and can be transported in tankers. For example, Japan’s entire natural gas requirements are met by LNG that is transported to its islands by ship. The sea in that region is too deep for a pipeline to be laid.
LNG as a fuel
LNG tankers use their liquid cargo as fuel. On the roads, LNG offers range and cost advantages. China is leading the way in this area, with 330,000 LNG trucks and 2,000 LNG filling stations. In the USA, there are 24,000 trucks and 120 filling stations. Every LNG truck produces 20% less CO2 emissions in comparison with a diesel engine. Compared to compressed natural gas (CNG), due to its high energy density LNG offers three to four times more range. Austria’s first LNG filling station opened in Ennshafen, Upper Austria in September 2017. France, Italy, the Netherlands and other European countries have also opened their first filling stations dispensing this competitive, clean and affordable fuel.
Keeping port cities clean
Ships benefit from LNG even without using it as a transportation fuel. As diesel motors in ports fall silent, a “floating power station” supplies cruise ships with electricity produced from LNG, keeping the air in ports clean. A project of this kind in Hamburg has received the German Travel Association’s Green Tec Award.
Just remember – LNG is not to be confused with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).