LNG for transport
Our roads and ports are becoming increasingly busy as the global population grows and more of us live in cities. A range of vehicles and fuels, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), will be needed to meet increasing demand for transport as the world seeks to tackle emissions.
Shell believes that natural gas could form a bigger part of the transport energy mix as a lower-carbon fuel, alongside developments in vehicle efficiency, biofuels, hydrogen and electric mobility.
What is LNG for transport?
Cooling natural gas to -162° Celsius (-260° Fahrenheit) turns it into a liquid and reduces its volume by 600 times. LNG is easy and economical to ship to where it is needed.
Shell is an LNG pioneer with more than 50 years of expertise. We are expanding the use of LNG as a transport fuel for trucks and ships with potential economic and environmental benefits compared to diesel and fuel oil. Other uses include in trains, the mining sector and industrial applications. We are also looking at ways to use LNG more in our own operations.
Tomorrow's fuel today
LNG as cleaner transport fuel for fuel for trucks, ships and other sectors
Title: Shell LNG - tomorrow's fuel today. A new, cleaner, transport fuel - from YouTube
Duration: 3:53 minutes
The methodology and benefits of the liquefaction of natural gas for transportation in order to meet the global energy demand.
Shell LNG - tomorrow's fuel today. A new, cleaner, transport fuel - from YouTube Transcript
[Background music plays]
Rhythmic instrumental music plays.
Aerial view of animated grey gridlines on a white background.
Pull back to wide view of 3D simulation of a city skyline rising out of the gridlined background.
Pan and pull back to aerial view of the skyline, which levels out to two 3D yellow blocks, labelled Population and Demand, still surrounded by a white background with grey gridlines, the blocks casting a shadow in front of them.
Pull back to wide front view of the blocks as four more appear frame-right of the first two. The blocks are labelled 2000, 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050, and rise incrementally in height from left to right. The blocks cast a slight grey shadow just in front of them against a white background.
The world’s population is growing and, for many, living standards will continue to improve. As a result, global energy demand is expected to double by 2050.
Population / Demand
To help meet this demand, gas will form an increasingly important role.
2000 / 2010 / 2020 / 2030 / 2040 / 2050
Zoom to the blocks as they decrease and disappear into the white, gridlined background.
Natural gas is plentiful, and it’s the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.
Aerial view of gridlined surface as a simulation of a rotating globe of the earth emerges from the surface, continents visible in a mustard colour and the oceans between in pale blue, the globe casting a faint grey shadow in a south-easterly direction.
But some natural gas resources are in remote locations: transporting the gas long distances by pipeline can be costly and impractical. The solution?
The simulation of the globe morphs into a teardrop of blue liquid against the white, gridlined background. The drop of liquid rolls downwards and disappears.
We liquefy the gas by cooling it, which shrinks its volume for easier, economical and safe transportation by ship.
Zoom in on a vertical cylindrical shape, a simulated pipeline, as it emerges out of the white, gridlined background.
Simulated gas particles of many colours float upwards through the pipe, and shadows appear either side of the pipe to simulate the reflection of the pipeline running along the ground’s surface.
Pan down to oblique, horizontal angle of the pipeline as coloured particles flow frame left to frame right, all still against the white background with grey gridlines and shadows.
Pull back to an aerial view of a network of pipes along which particles are flowing, all stemming from one pipe, similar to the shape of a fork, but with many tines.
So, how is liquefied natural gas produced? Natural gas extracted from the ground, contains impurities, water and other associated liquids. First it is processed to clean it. It goes through a series of pipes and vessels where gravity helps separate the gas from some of the heavier liquids.
Pull back and pan to an aerial view of the whole plant, one of the large towers displaying the Shell logo.
Zoom to another section of the plant, showing a single pipeline, through which multi-coloured particles are flowing into a tank.
Zoom to close-up of particles, showing the yellow particles, representing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, being absorbed into the background, disappearing, leaving green, blue, turquoise and purple particles flowing from frame-left to frame-right.
Blue particles, representing water, next veer towards a faint, grey circular opening in the background, disappearing from the simulated flow of particles.
Turquoise particles, representing mainly propane and butane, also veer towards yet another circular opening in the background, leaving many green and some purple particles, representing methane and ethane respectively.
Pull back to rear view of green and purple particles flowing away and disappearing to the top of frame as a bright white section slowly opens up at the top of the pipeline, still indicated by the white gridlined background.
Other impurities are then stripped out. The natural gas passes through a water-based solvent that absorbs carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. These would otherwise freeze when the gas is cooled and so cause blockages. Next any remaining water is removed, as this would also freeze. Finally, remaining lighter natural gas liquids – mainly propane and butane – are extracted to be sold separately or used as refrigerant later in the cooling process. Traces of mercury are also filtered out. Now the purified natural gas – methane with some ethane – is ready to be liquefied.
Zoom to aerial view of a stylised line animation of three heat exchangers, with pipes flowing along the white gridlined background.
Zoom to central exchanger, the coolant, and pan to front view of the coolant’s yellow-rimmed window, showing cold air blasting downwards over a network of pipes.
Zoom to a close-up of the moving particles against the white-grey gridlined background as they decrease in size and cluster together to fill the screen.
Dissolve to aerial view of a beaker containing water, casting a shadow on the white surface, and panning to a front view of the beaker.
This happens in heat exchangers. A coolant, chilled by giant refrigerators, absorbs the heat from the natural gas. It cools the gas to -162°C, shrinking its volume by 600 times. This turns it into a clear, colourless, non-toxic liquid - liquefied natural gas, or LNG – that is much easier to store and transport.
Tanks and structures rise from the white-grey surface and the beaker becomes opaque and, as we pan to a front view, it turns into an insulated tank, displaying the Shell logo on its front. Pipes running from the tanks towards the foreground appear to flow with blue liquid, the remainder of the background still in whites and greys.
Pull back to aerial view of the plant in the background with an LNG vessel in the foreground, parts of its superstructure coloured in yellow.
The plant structures sink back into the white background as the shot pans down and back behind the stern of the ship. The ship moves rapidly across and out of the frame diagonally from frame-right to frame left.
Quick pan to aerial view of the LNG vessel connected via pipeline to three tanks, blue liquid flowing from the vessel to the tanks.
Pan to aerial view over the land, showing numerous storage tanks, one rising and shown to be filled with a blue substance, as others seem to sink lower into the background.
Pan to aerial view over the breakbulk terminal, zooming to show a pipeline bearing a blue substance extending out of the terminal and towards another vessel towards frame-right.
The LNG is kept in insulated tanks until it is ready for loading into a specially designed LNG ship or carrier. Some of the LNG is shipped overseas and re-gasified to power homes and businesses. LNG for transport is offloaded into separate storage tanks at a mid-way facility known as a break bulk terminal.
Pan from the first vessel, across a white background to a wide side view of a cruise liner with another vessel just in front of it, some of its superstructure coloured in yellow, pulling back to an extreme wide aerial view of the two vessels until they are barely visible, with just the coastline visible in grey against the white, gridlined background.
Small carriers, supply barges, ferries, cruise liners, container ships and tankers in ports, on rivers and in coastal areas.
Dissolve to aerial view of a movable modular liquefaction plant, some sections coloured in yellow, Shell logo visible on one of the structures.
Pull back to wide front view as several new sections appear.
Pan to reverse view of the plant and slight zoom to a tanker shown to be bearing a blue substance in its tank, before the tank becomes opaque and the tanker speeds off in the direction of frame-left, plant structures in the background.
Shell has also helped develop technology to liquefy natural gas on a small scale. This approach uses movable modular liquefaction plants, built in sections to be scaled up or down and potentially moved to another location. The plants can supply transport customers directly, making LNG more accessible.
The plant structures disappear and the shot pans to a bird’s eye front view of the truck as it pulls into a refuelling station displaying the Shell logo and some yellow colouring.
A tall vacuum insulated tank is shown frame-left of the tanker truck at the petrol pumps, and a blue substance is shown to fill the insulated tank.
Panning bird’s eye view over the refuelling station, revealing another truck stopped between two pump stations, and the blue substance appears to fill the truck’s tank before the truck drives off towards the shot, diagonally, from frame left to frame right.
The refuelling station receded into the background as the truck drives under a large steel structure bridge which another truck, yellow in colour, is crossing from frame-right to left, and enters a dual carriageway as indicated by the road barrier, as a large tanker with a yellow pilot car passes in the opposite direction.
Pan to side view of the truck driving along the highway, showing another bridge in the background, running parallel to the highway and passing over a tunnel, and two trains with yellow pilot cars moving in opposite directions below, passing in and out of the tunnel.
Railroads and tanker trucks carry the LNG to storage tanks at refuelling stations for large trucks. Double-walled, vacuum-insulated tanks keep the LNG cool. The pumps and gauges look different, but pumping LNG is like pumping conventional diesel. Compared to conventional diesel, as a transport fuel LNG has the potential to offer significant fuel cost savings, as well as economic and environmental benefits for operators of large-truck fleets and marine vessels.
Pull back to aerial view of the truck moving along the highway, a train with yellow pilot car passing it on the rails running parallel to the highway; pulling further back to show a network of railway lines along which several trains speed.
In future LNG usage may expand into other areas, including rail and mining.
Pull back and dissolve to Shell logo.
Shell believes LNG can help meet the growing energy demand by making more use of natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.
Inside LNG for transport
In Europe and North America, environmental regulations introduced in 2015 require shipping operators to reduce local emissions. LNG fuel, which is virtually free of sulphur and particulates, can help them meet these requirements.
Used in trucks delivering goods, LNG has the potential to offer fuel cost savings when compared to conventional diesel. It can also reduce sulphur emissions, particulates and nitrogen oxides, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from production to use.
LNG in our operations
In 2018, Shell chartered four LNG dual-fuel Aframax crude oil tankers on a long-term basis. In Europe, we have signed a charter agreement for 15 dual-fuel inland barges to transport mineral oil products in northwest Europe, which will run mainly on LNG. The 110-metre-long barges will feature main engines built by Wärtsilä, running 95-98% on LNG fuel, and using diesel for ignition.
In the USA, we have chartered three LNG-powered offshore supply vessels equipped with dual-fuel Wärtsilä engines to support our drilling operations in the US Gulf of Mexico. The vessels meet the stringent requirements of the ABS “ENVIRO+, Green Passport” notation, making them the most environmentally-friendly offshore supply vessels in the region.
On shore, we are using LNG to power more of our drilling rigs.
Watch LNG for transport in use
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