LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is a natural gas that has been cooled to -162°C and thereby liquefies. Its volume is then 1/600th of its original volume.
LNG is non-toxic, colourless, odourless, and in the liquid state is non-flammable. When it mixes with air, its flammable range is between 5% and 15%.
LNG is mainly composed of methane (approx. 98%) as well as ethane, butane, propane and nitrogen. LNG is not pressurised and can be stored and transported safely and efficiently.
LNG is transported by carriers across the world’s oceans to LNG import terminals. The largest carriers of this type are Qmax carriers which have a capacity of up to 267,000cbm. An LNG import terminal serves as a distribution centre, among other things.
At the import terminal, the LNG can be reloaded onto smaller ships, tank trucks or rail tank cars. This allows onward transport to small distribution centres and/or direct supply to supply truck filling stations. LNG can also be loaded into LNG bunker vessels at the import terminal. Bunker vessels are floating fuel stations which supply various ships in ports.
At the terminal unloaded LNG is temporarily stored to account for an unloading rate that is higher than the regasification rate. Unloaded LNG is pressurized and regasified (by heating) or compressed. Then, it is fed into the national high pressure grid for trade and further transport to end-users or underground gas storage.
LNG is used as an alternative fuel in the mobility sector (shipping and heavy goods transport). However, it is mainly used as a source of energy for private and commercial customers once it is converted back into gas (re-gasification). It could therefore provide a useful alternative for pipeline gas and allows for the diversification of gas supplies into Germany. At its maximum capacity the German LNG terminal could provide for approx. 10% of the entire annual German gas consumption .
Regasified LNG is an alternative to natural gas delivered to Germany by pipeline. It diversifies suppliers and prevents dependence on a small group of supplier countries. This creates more competition in the natural gas market, which usually brings benefits for consumers.In addition to that LNG can be used as a low-emission fuel in shipping and heavy goods transport, which emits fewer air pollutants and fewer greenhouse gases than oil-based fuels. State-of-the-art technologies used for handling and using LNG are secure, proven and immediately available. LNG improves sustainability by contributing to better air quality and reducing noise when used in shipping and heavy goods transport (LNG-powered engines are considerably quieter).