Statistics about LNG

There are more than 250 ships in the world running on LNG while many are under construction. The technology of LNG is well-proven and has attracted the attention of many players in the industry to improve the current products in light of LNG. Thus, LNG brings in engine efficiency and cost optimization. Also, there is zero emission of SOx from LNG combustion and the LNG engines are able to meet Tier III requirements as claimed by the engine manufacturers. However, this has to be proven for several engines still.  There are a number of advantages in choosing LNG over traditional types of fuels. The LNG complies with regulations for NOx and SOx and combustion of it emits 20% lesser CO2 on a tank-to-wheel basis. Also, much lesser maintenance is required for LNG engines as gas combustion is significantly cleaner than the alternative options of MDO or HFO.

However, adoption of LNG also has some drawbacks. The density of LNG is much lower than other fuels and the space occupied by the tanks is higher. Also, it is not possible to use LNG for type C tanks that are cylindrical. For safety reasons, more space is allocated to isolate the gas system. When compared with conventional fuels, LNG facilities on board require 3 to 4 times more volume that results in significant loss in cargo space in the ships. The problem can be minimized by the membrane solution that is currently under development. Also, it is unlikely to be able to do retrofitting for the ships if there is no option made at the time of the ships’ design. It can be possible to install type C reservoirs on the deck in the tankers. The main disadvantage of LNG to be used as maritime fuel is its availability that is a challenge that makes LNG unsuitable for the ships as these ships such as VLCCs and bulk carriers need to be having flexibility in their routes. Also, the supply chain for LNG has not developed fully yet. Another limitation arises in the form of safety requirements related to commercial operations, bunkering, and maintenance that adds to the complexity and hence requires skilled and trained staff. About 85-95% of the LNG is methane (CH4), as well as other hydrocarbons such as ethane (approximately 5%-10%), propane and butane (approximately 5%) (LPG), and some traces of nitrogen. LNG has a lot of the same characteristics as methane; it is colorless, noncorrosive and non-toxic. LNG is a type of gas that is liquefied by cooling it down with temperatures lower than -162 °C. During the cooling process, the volume will be reduced by about 600 times, which makes it easy to transport with the aid of pipelines or gas tankers.

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