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.