What is bio-LNG?

Bio-LNG is a biofuel made by processing organic waste flows, such as organic household and industrial waste, manure, and sewage sludge. When anaerobic digestion of organic waste occurs, biogas is emitted in the process. The main components in this biogas are methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). To make bio-LNG, the methane is separated from the carbon dioxide and other critical components, and then liquefied. This process, which is very complex, increases the energy density 600 times and makes the biofuel ideal for heavy-duty and maritime transport.

Advantages of bio-LNG

Bio-LNG is a practically carbon neutral biofuel. As a renewable replacement for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), bio-LNG offers similar advantages as LNG does versus diesel, including:

  • Reduced carbon dioxide emission
  • Lower engine sound
  • Lower nitrogen oxide emission
  • Significantly less pm (particulate matter) emission

Well-to-wheel, the GHG emissions balance of bio-LNG can be even negative. This is a result of the separation of biogas into methane and carbon dioxide. Nordsol captures the carbon dioxide for reuse, so it is not released into the atmosphere.

Bio-LNG well to wheel comparison

What makes bio-LNG carbon neutral?

Bio-LNG is composed of methane. When methane is burned, CO2 is emitted and released into the atmosphere. So what’s the difference with a fossil fuel?
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon that has been locked up in the ground for millions of years, while burning bio-LNG emits carbon that is part of the biogenic carbon cycle. In other words, fossil fuel use increases the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere, while combustion of bio-LNG simply returns the carbon that was absorbed from the atmosphere as the plants grew. So, in addition to tailpipe emissions, the source of the fuel is a critical factor when assessing the carbon intensity of a fuel over its complete life cycle.

Bio-LNG only emits carbon that is part of the biogenic carbon cycle

But there is a third factor: the energy it takes to produce the fuel. Depending on the source of this energy (fossil or renewable) the production of fuel adds to the carbon intensity of the fuel. In the production of bio-LNG, the CO2 emissions that result from energy consumption in the production process can be compensated by capturing and reusing CO2 from the biogas during the same process. As mentioned before, biogas is composed of methane and CO2. To produce bio-LNG, methane is separated from the CO2. By capturing and liquefying the CO2, and reusing this biogenic CO2 in the industry to replace CO2 from fossil sources, bio-LNG becomes carbon neutral. In fact, over its complete lifecycle (well-to-wheel ) bio-LNG can even result in negative carbon emissions.

Bio-LNG, LBM or LBG

Bio-LNG is sometimes called liquefied biomethane (LBM) or liquefied biogas (LBG). These are three different names for the same product. So where do these names come from?

LNG stands for liquefied natural gas. Natural gas is composed of about 95% methane, whereas LBM and bio-LNG are composed of about 99,8% methane. Therefore, technically the name liquefied biomethane is a good description of the product. However, as this liquefied biomethane is a biofuel for LNG engines and used to replace fossil LNG, the name bio-LNG is the most commonly used name.

Bio-LNG takes advantage of existing infrastructure

In addition to being carbon neutral, bio-LNG is also a high-energy biofuel that can be blended at any ratio with fossil LNG. Therefore it can make use of the LNG fuelling infrastructure that exists today and that is growing rapidly. It is projected that the number of LNG service stations will grow from 330 in 2020 to 2,000 in 2030. Bio-LNG for ships can also be transported, stored and bunkered in ports utilizing existing LNG infrastructure.