Liquefied gas is safer for people and more environmentally-friendly than other types of fuel. When exposed to air, it evaporates and disperses in the atmosphere. When released, it spreads like natural gas, leaving any residues in the soil or water (LNG is about 50% lighter than water, so it floats on its surface).
LNG contains mostly methane (95%) and other components (5%). It is, therefore, exceptionally clean, non-toxic and non-corrosive and installations which use it are more durable. It produces three times less contaminants than diesel oil. It is better than liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and condensed natural gas (CNG) in terms of environmental impact and safety. Its combustion produces almost 50% less carbon dioxide than hard coal or lignite, which is why it is used increasingly often in heat and power plants.
LNG performs even better in comparison with heavy heating oil which is nowadays the most common fuel used in ships. Since the EU directive imposes reduction of the sulphur content from 1% to 0.1% by 2015 in marine fuels used in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and English Channel, the future of ships using heavy heating oil is rather bleak. The determination of the EU stems from the fact that the content of sulphur in heavy heating oil reaches 5% (compare with only 0.001% sulphur content in motor fuels). Ship operators will have two options to choose from. When abolished by 2015, heavy heating oil will have to be replaced by clean oil which is almost twice as expensive or install scrubbers – devices which wash sulphur compounds out of exhaust gases. The problem is that scrubbers are very expensive. The alternative is LNG whose price is comparable with that of heavy heating oil and meets the UE standards.
Liquefied gas is heavily endorsed by the European Union. The Clean Power for Transport Package: European Alternative Fuels Strategy claims that LNG is an ecological fuel with an outlook for the future. The EU wants to promote the development of LNG infrastructure for waterborne and land transport.