Expert Disputes Government’s Claim on ‘Clean’ LNG Plants

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 12, 2014

The provincial government has repeatedly stressed the LNG plants in B.C. would be the world’s cleanest LNG plants, meaning they will boast the world’s lowest life cycle greenhouse gas emissions.                                

But a recent Clean Energy Canada report disputes that claim, saying the B.C. LNG plants would release more than three times the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the rest of the LNG operations all over the world.

A few policy changes, however, can stem the emissions and indeed make LNG clean, says the report by Clean Energy Group, which is part of an environmental group called Tides Canada.

Addressing a packed audience at Quest University on Tuesday, April 8, a senior analyst with Clean Energy Canada, Jeremy Moorehouse, spoke about the LNG industry in the province.

He said the cleanest LNG is currently being produced at two locations in Norway and Australia, with both plants releasing 0.35 and 0.36 tonnes of GHE into the atmosphere.

No data exists for LNG plant in BC yet, but based on engineering data from other facilities, Clean Energy Canada estimates B.C. plants will generate 0.96 tonnes of carbon per tonne of LNG produced.

Introducing three policy changes, however, can reduce the GHG emissions and make B.C. LNG plants as clean as the government claims they would be.

SOURCE CLEANEST GAS

Moorehouse said government should require LNG to exclusively source natural gas from the province’s Montney field which contains just one percent carbon dioxide.  

On the other hand, raw natural gas sourced from the Horn River basin, near Fort Nelson, contains 12 percent carbon dioxide.

“Gas sourced from the Montney field will have a smaller carbon footprint than Horn River gas, unless the latter’s significant carbon dioxide content is captured and stored at the wellhead,” he said.

ELECTRIFY NATURAL GAS PROCESSING

To reduce carbon emissions, proponents could use electricity instead of natural gas to process natural gas.

Electric drives can be more efficient, and can use lower carbon energy sources such as wind, hydro, and also natural gas, burned in an efficient “combined-cycle” power plant.

USE ELECTRIC DRIVE COMPRESSORS

To achieve best-in-class LNG, B.C. LNG plants must use electric drive compressors that in turn run on a combination of new renewable power, existing British Columbia grid electricity, and efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators.

Taken together, the above actions will collectively reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a standard off-the-shelf B.C. plant by 0.61 tonnes of equivalent emissions per tonne of LNG produced, resulting in a world class facility.

Comments

  1. David Lassmann says:

    Using natural gas with lower greenhouse gas factors makes sense, however using electicity might not not make sense because it will make less electricity available for other needs. It is this need for additional electricity that is causing our hydro rates to go up.

  2. heather gee says:

    MySeaToSky arranged a very interesting and informative group of speakers at Quest University to give us greater detail about the proposed LNG plant . What struck me is that those who support the LNG plant going ahead have a lot of homework to do because ‘the wool has been pulled over our eyes.’ It’s time for all of us to do further research and to become thoroughly informed.

  3. Craig D. McConnell says:

    The two reports available from Clean Energy Canada (The Cleanest LNG In The World, Sept, 2013, and Lock In Jobs Not Pollution, January, 2014) co-authored by Quest U. event panelist Jeremy Moorhouse, P.Eng., are a valuable read on technological options and statistical outcomes opposing the expectations of the BC government findings. As with all studies dictated by an agenda, there are some problems given the assumptions in the reports.

    Firstly, “clean energy” is a misnomer. More accurately, “alternative energy” sources and the conversion process to that of utility for humankind activity sometimes provides the perception of no or low impact to the environment. Mineral extraction, recovery, fabrication, and manufacture of components (ie: concrete and steel for hydroelectricity generation, and rare earth elements-REE for wind turbines) for the construction of energy facilities is often completed at a distant locale and therefore “out of sight out of mind.” For example, REE neodymium’s most important use is in high power magnets that are used in wind turbines. Neodymium is also used in the manufacture of smartphones, headphones, and speakers, etc.

    However, REEs of which there are approximately 15 – 17 are not all that rare. But they have a very complex and intense chemical additive path of mineral processing and recovery needed to isolate each and everyone of them into a useable “oxide form” for specialty applications, such as wind turbines and smart phone manufacture. The environmental-chemical impact of REE processing and recovery is further compounded by the poor industrial practises of China, which accounted for more that 85% of REE global production in 2012. China’s poor industrial practise additively includes the most intense carbon-footprint of the developed world through the wide spread reliance of thermal power via coal combustion.

    The Clean Energy Canada (CEC) report “Lock In Jobs Not Pollution” concludes and recommends (page 17) that “there are other energy opportunities in the (NW BC) region as well, including run-of-river hydroelectricity, but since the wind resource is relatively abundant, we consider only wind” (turbines). Aside from the environmental impact of REEs used in wind turbine manuafacture, “only wind” is not economically feasible due to the unpredictable and discontinuous supply for any power generation. Wind turbines, with an inherent lack of energy storage, must be supported by hydro-electric infrastructure (the water in the reservoir acting as energy storage), or some form of natural gas-fired turbine.

    In the same CEC report on page 6, except for the single reference to Woodfibre LNG exploring electric motor drives to run the (refrigerant) compressors as an option in their project description (Golder Associates, 2013), the WFLNG project is completely excluded from both reports. Is this an oversight, or the intention of focusing on the NW coast of BC where each of the three major projects (LNG Canada, Kitimat LNG, and Prince Rupert LNG) represents 10 times the capacity of Woodfibre LNG, and the focal point of the industry in western Canada?

    Without having a strong historical awareness of “alternative energy” studies, proposals and projects from IPPs active within District of Squamish and Howe Sound area , as they relate to and compliment the current Woodfibre LNG Project, I would hesitate in promoting oneself as an “expert” in a local public forum!

    Craig D. McConnell
    Geoscience Analysis Technology
    Enviro-Guard Technology

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  5. TJay says:

    Let’s go back to coal then, there’s still lot’s of that that we can obtain. Think of the jobs !….we surely wouldn’t want to use that evil dastardly filthy unhealthy and deadly natural gas would we ? ! naaaaw, that wouldn’t make sense….pfffft !