LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is natural gas that has been cooled down to minus 162 degrees Celsius (minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit). This transforms it from gaseous to liquid form and shrinks it 600 times in volume.
Natural gas is colourless and odourless. It is used as a town gas in Helsinki and Stockholm and as a vehicle fuel. About 35,000 vehicles on Swedish roads run on biogas and natural gas.
In the petrochemical industry, natural gas is an important ingredient in the manufacture of juice bottles, toys, detergents, plastic floors, medicines etc. The food processing and steel industries also use it.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits about 15 per cent less carbon dioxide during combustion than oil does. The gas burns with a clean flame, emitting neither dust nor soot. It is sulphur-free and is low in nitrogen oxide emissions.
Today natural gas accounts for about 25 per cent of Europe’s energy supply. In its “Energy Roadmap 2050”, the European Commission singles out natural gas as vital to the energy transformation envisioned by 2050.
LNG is relatively difficult to ignite. Regulations for vessels stipulate that LNG must be at least as safe a fuel as oil.
The LNG tanks on our new vessel are located outdoors on the rear deck. If the gas comes into contact with air it rises, since it is lighter. As a result, it is ventilated away. In cooled form, the pressure in the tank and piping system is very low. The pipes are double-mantled. This means that no gas is emitted in case of any leakage. The vessel’s comprehensive gas detector system also shuts off the system if a leak should occur.
Viking Line’s new vessel will be the first in the Baltic Sea – and the first large passenger vessel in the world – to be powered by LNG. It is very likely that many shipping companies will adopt this technology, due to its environmental advantages.