Replacing coal with natural gas for power generation is a central strategy for countries looking to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
But if gas is to fulfill its promise as a “transition fuel” on the path to renewable energy, the industry must make greater efforts to cut emissions throughout the natural gas value chain.
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Stan Knez is senior vice president, process technology at Technip Energies, the company spun off from TechnicFMC to focus on renewable energy and the company’s gas portfolio, including liquefied natural gas.
He says the industry acknowledges its emissions-reduction responsibilities and is making progress.
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“I think we are beginning to see what I would say is an acceleration of the move for the decarbonisation of LNG,” Knez says.
Technology exists that could take the liquefaction process from low carbon to zero carbon emissions, he insists, with opportunities in both brownfield and greenfield developments.
About 45 “major” LNG sites are scattered around the world with combined nameplate capacity of around 450 million tonnes per annum, Knez says. “That is a wealth of opportunity to decarbonise... [and] we have a toolkit that we can bring to the table today.”
Wider deployment of technology to detect methane leaks can be paired with systems that pinpoint leak sites, review and send out parts for repair, he says. There are gains yet to be made in process efficiency, Knez says, including turbines used in liquefaction.
“We have technology that is available today to put carbon capture on the gas turbine exhaust.”
Blue hydrogen could be “a ready, low-cost, very low-carbon solution for decarbonising LNG. And now we can take that hydrogen and... begin to displace the natural gas fuel that is fired in the natural gas turbines,” he says.
Greenfield projects offer a “clean sheet” for engineers to design for digital technologies, low-carbon energy sources and full electrification of an LNG plant, he says.
“This is very good for the industry, for LNG, that we can start doing something today — that the technologies exist today to get us to lower-carbon LNG and ultimately to zero-carbon LNG.”
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