The need to adopt strategies for the reduction of the environmental impact related to marine and road transport, as well as the reduction of the fuel running costs with phased replacement of fuel oil with LNG, makes the growth of a "small scale LNG" approach crucial to support the evolution of the fuel market.
Saipem recently developed an alternative LNG liquefaction technology designed to comply with the current LNG market scenario, and that is particularly suitable to small scale LNG solutions for bunkering and road fuelling.
This proprietary liquefaction process technology has been implemented in a small scale pre-engineered liquefaction train, providing a compact arrangement with the opportunity to execute a modular installation of standardized equipment.
This gas liquefaction process involves very low hydrocarbon and cryogenic liquid inventories, which makes it particularly suitable for onshore areas with reduced plot and severe permitting constraints. This also allows reducing indirect costs associated to process hazard mitigation. In addition, this technology is particularly versatile with respect to both the environment of application (onshore and offshore) and the gas composition to be liquefied. This ensures easy customization of the concept according to the project requirements.
According to the study of the energy market development, the LNG consumption is expected growing within the Mediterranean area. Off-grid users and road transportation will first drive the increase of LNG as a fuel with significant growth. The maritime sector is expected to cover the bulk of the demand in a long term period.
For instance, the European Commission, as part of directive 2014/94/EU related to the development of alternative fuels infrastructures, has established that Member States shall promote an adequate LNG supply system, ensuring by 2025 the availability of an adequate number of LNG fuelling stations, in the ports and roads belonging to the "Trans-European Transport Network".
To comply with the above described scenario, Saipem developed a compact, intrinsically safe and flexible LNG liquefaction solution, competitive with the available alternatives in terms of cost and schedule, and that is able to make LNG distribution available in different locations regardless of geographical barriers or physical constraints.