Liquefied Natural Gas (hereafter LNG) is natural gas (mostly methane) that has been cooled down to become liquid . The main benefit of this liquefied state is the ease of transport and storage, since the LNG takes up a fraction of the space that it does in gaseous form. Further, LNG is safer to use and store in liquefied form. Since this development, LNG has become a more widely accessible alternative to oil and other fuels than ever before. Before, in areas far away from gas or gas-producing oil fields or gas pipelines, natural gas was neither available nor economically important. Therefore, natural gas markets were historically entirely localised and production had to be immediately consumed by the local markets . By introducing the liquefaction process, LNG can now be easily transported and stored, meaning it has now become a real alternative to mainstream energy sources.
Natural gas is considered the least environmentally harmful fossil fuel, with the lowest CO2 emissions per unit of energy produced. “For an equivalent amount of heat, burning natural gas produces about 30 percent less carbon dioxide than burning petroleum and about 45 per cent less than burning coal" . Moreover, LNG serves a high energy density, quick refuelling capabilities, as well as low cost, making it an ideal bridging solution for hybrid power trains for large vehicles . There are certain limitations, however, because of the novelty of this technology, the biggest being the current lack of infrastructure and supply to support widespread adoption and feasibility. LNG stations are not fully available yet in most areas and are dependent on gas supply networks — this goes especially for China and Europe. Moreover, the price of LNG is very unstable so far, making it an unlikely candidate for TCO-driven industries such as the commercial vehicle industry. Lastly, new technologies such as this one experience technology barriers; safety issues need to be solidly solved before a technology is considered mature enough for widespread use .
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