How LNG could help you to cut your fuel costs by 29%

Posted on: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 by Katy Blake

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By Kev Houlden, LNG Specialist at Calor

The mining and quarrying sector is like no other. With operators working in some of the most demanding environments; at the coal face so to speak, products and technologies are expected to perform under pressure.

Productivity and efficiency are particularly high on the agenda and this extends across all operational aspects. From equipment utilisation rates, through to the energy used to power the site, no stone is left unturned when it comes to achieving the right return.

Here at Calor, we are getting ready to exhibit at this year’s Hillhead 2018 show, the world’s biggest working quarrying exhibition. Taking our place alongside the construction sector’s latest plant technologies, we’ll also be showcasing a vital component in overall site profitability – liquefied natural gas (LNG).

For asphalt plants in particular, which have high energy requirements, LNG can realise some dramatic cost and carbon emissions savings, particularly over alternative fuels such as oil.

A colourless, cryogenic liquid fuel, LNG is created by cooling natural gas to a temperature of around -162°C. When cooled to this temperature, the gas liquefies and reduces in volume too.

If you’re considering making the switch to LNG, what areas should you consider to ensure a smooth transition?

First, whether you operate a continuous or batch production process, you’ll have a constant demand for fuel so will want the reassurance of a readily-available supply. Our nationwide delivery service is currently supplied in the UK from the Isle of Grain import terminal, with developments underway across the UK, including the North of England and in Scotland through the CaledoniaLNG consortia, to further increase the LNG supply network.

Tanks are also fitted with telemetry technology, which monitors gas levels continually and assists scheduling of a delivery when fuel is required, saving you time and effort.

You’ll also want to consider the fuel’s environmental credentials and whether these can impact on your bottom line. Switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG) can certainly enable operators to futureproof their installation. The fuel meets standards for SO2 and NOX and particulate emissions as well as offering reduced CO2 output, especially in comparison to some oil types, with LNG being the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels available off-grid.

These clean burning properties also enable improved burner efficiencies as well as reduced maintenance, both of which contribute to a long-term reduction in operational costs.

For example, one tonne of liquid fuel oil (LFO) emits 3.3755 tonnes of CO2 whereas 1 tonne of LNG emits significantly less, at 2.6962 tonnes of CO2.. In addition, a tonne of LFO carries less energy than the equivalent amount of LNG. For comparative purposes, to achieve the equivalent energy rating of 1,000 tonnes of LNG, an LFO user would actually need to use 1,230 tonnes of LFO, emitting 4,152 tonnes of CO2 as opposed to 2,696 tonnes with LNG. In this scenario, switching to LNG would represent a 35 per cent saving (1,456 tonnes).

Sites such as Aggregate Industries’ Colemans Quarry have already made the switch to LNG, cutting fuel costs significantly while reducing CO2 emissions by 17 per cent. Producing 250,000 tonnes of asphalt every year, Plant Manager Simon Evans explains: “We made the switch to LNG because it is a cleaner source of energy. We were previously using kerosene, but LNG is a more cost-effective product to burn. It also produces a lot less carbon and reducing our carbon footprint is very important to Aggregate Industries.”

Elsewhere, one of our manufacturing customers has realised significant savings since switching from liquid fuel oil to LNG. The site uses particularly high volumes of energy for raising process heat and steam and, with its recent investment in LNG, is set to save over £140,000 per year, representing a 29% cut in its fuel costs.

To find out more about how LNG can help your operation keep performing under pressure, come and visit us on stand number PC19 in the main pavilion from the 26-28 June at Hillhead Quarry near Buxton, Derbyshire.