LNG is liquefied methane that has been cooled to an extremely cold temperature (-260° F/ -162.2° C). At standard atmospheric conditions, methane is a vapor, not to be confused with gasoline, which is a liquid, but when supercooled it condensed into a colorless, odorless liquid that looks just like water.
LNG is the same natural gas we use to fuel our homes. Just like traditional oil, LNG powers kitchen appliances, heating units, stoves, barbeques and laundry machines.
U.S. LNG export projects undergo a rigorous, multiyear review and permitting process overseen by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and more than a dozen federal, state and local agencies, ensuring safe, responsible, and environmentally sound economic development.
Natural gas is liquefied so that it can be more efficiently transported over long distances in specially designed LNG ships. Once super-cooled to -260ºF, natural gas condenses by a factor of ~600x.
LNG is an odorless, non-flammable, non-toxic liquid that has been safely and securely shipped around the world for over 60 years.
LNG and the Environment
LNG serves to bridge the gap between renewable energy and traditional forms of fuel like coal and diesel. The world needs power, and technologies for wind and solar infrastructures are not yet advanced enough to meet global demand without the help of gas.
Liquified Natural Gas emits a fraction of the carbon dioxide of oil or coal. It evaporates when spilled, eliminating ground contamination risks in the rare case of pipeline leakage. It is also non-flammable and non-explosive in its liquid form, making it safe to transport. LNG is the only reasonable transition fuel while we work toward viable clean energy solutions.
- When LNG is vaporized and used as fuel, it reduces particulate emissions to near zero and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 70 percent in comparison with other, heavier hydrocarbon fuels.
- When burned for power generation, the results are even more pronounced: sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions are virtually eliminated and CO2 emissions are reduced significantly.
NextDecade’s projects are designed to meet or exceed all environmental and other regulatory requirements, which include strict standards governing impacts on air, land, water, and wildlife. The rigorous regulatory process and ongoing oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ensure these standards are met and maintained in accordance with the law.
How is LNG safer than other energy sources?
To start, liquid natural gas isn’t flammable. How can that be? LNG is the liquid form of natural gas, supercooled to -260 degrees. In its liquid form, natural gas is non-flammable and non-combustible. It can cause burns to the skin, but cryogenic burns – freeze burns – due to its extremely cold temperature.
When LNG is ready to be used as fuel, it is converted back to gas via a process called regasification, becoming burnable energy just like traditional fossil fuels. That’s why, when it comes to transportation, LNG has an unmatched track record for safety and efficiency. LNG is transported and stored all over the world securely.
Here are some LNG Fast Facts:
- LNG is a natural gas cooled to -260°F
- LNG occupies 1/600th the volume of gas
- LNG is not toxic, corrosive, explosive or flammable
- LNG looks like water and is colorless and odorless
- LNG cannot contaminate soil or water
- If spilled on land or in water, LNG vaporizes and leaves no residue
- LNG shipping has occurred safely worldwide since first cargoes in 1964
- Proven, safe, reliable technology and design
- Comprehensive and best-practice safety policies, systems, and procedures
U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Permitting Process
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as FERC, is the main regulatory body charged with the review and permitting process for U.S. LNG export projects. The process includes a comprehensive review of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of proposed projects. The FERC, in cooperation with more than a dozen federal, state and local agencies – including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and others – conducts this comprehensive review of proposed LNG projects before issuing permits. The FERC process is designed to ensure safe and responsible development and operations of U.S. LNG export projects.