Energy for the 21st Century
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Energy for the 21st Century

Opportunities and Challenges for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Susan L. Sakmar

Countries around the world are increasingly looking to liquefied natural gas (LNG) – natural gas that has been cooled until it forms a transportable liquid – to meet growing energy demand. Energy for the 21st Century provides critical insights into the opportunities and challenges LNG faces, including its potential role in a carbon-constrained world.
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Chapter 3: The evolution of LNG markets and primary demand regions

Opportunities and Challenges for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Susan L. Sakmar


The rapid growth of and intense interest in LNG over the past decade might lead some to believe that LNG is a newly discovered fuel. In fact, LNG is not a new fuel at all; it is merely a means of delivering an old fuel – natural gas. For decades, natural gas was viewed as an unwanted byproduct of drilling for oil. Whereas oil was relatively easy to store, load, and transport, transporting natural gas presented a significant technical challenge that would take decades to solve. The challenge of course is that natural gas has to be chilled through a process known as liquefaction before it can be turned into a liquid that can be transported. Natural gas liquefaction dates back to the 19th century when British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday experimented with liquefying different types of gases, including methane/natural gas. German engineer Karl von Linde facilitated advances in gas liquefaction on an industrial scale when he invented a heat exchanger and later the first practical compressor refrigerator machine. However, it was not until 1914 that Godfrey Cabot registered the first US patent for transporting liquefied natural gas on a barge, although there is no material proof that this was actually done.

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