LPG industry aims for 100% transition to bioLNG by 2040

Article by Amanda Jasi

Liquid Gas UK (formerly UKLPG) has launched its new vision, which sets a goal for the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) industry to transition to 100% bioLPG by 2040. The trade association’s 2040 Vision represents a landmark step for the industry.

LPG refers to two gases, propane and butane, which occur naturally and are easily converted to liquid by application of moderate pressure. It emits 33% and 12% less CO2 than coal and oil, respectively.

BioLPG is chemically indistinct from LPG but offers up to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions and the same low emissions of NOx, SOx, and particulate matter as conventional LPG. The fuel could represent a cleaner energy future for at least 2m rural homes in the UK, as well as thousands of businesses, bed and breakfasts, and farms that rely on off-grid fuel. BioLPG is currently available on the market.

Liquid Gas UK’s 2040 Vision demonstrates how the LPG industry can contribute to achieving “net-zero” carbon emissions. It sets out how LPG can act as a key transition fuel in the short term whilst industry works proactively to reduce emissions further by introducing and scaling up bioLPG, or biopropane.

Because bioLPG is chemically indistinct from fossil LPG it can be applied with use of existing equipment and appliances. This would make it easy to switch without inflicting costs. In addition, bioLPG can be blended with fossil LPG, which would enable a phased and secure transition to 100% bioLPG.

According to Matthew Hickin, Chair of Liquid Gas UK, LPG has been a key part of the UK energy mix for more than 80 years. The company believes LPG and bioLPG can support the UK’s future decarbonisation commitments across a variety of sectors.

Using bioLPG as part of a mixed technology approach could support the UK Government in achieving climate targets in an affordable and non-intrusive way, which is why the LNG industry aims for a 100% transition by 2040. But in order to achieve this transition the industry requires collaboration. Policy makers could help to enable effective decarbonisation across the UK.

In its 2040 Vision, Liquid Gas UK calls on the UK Government to take several actions to help achieve the transition:

  • set a long-term policy framework that supports a consumer led market approach to off-grid heat decarbonisation;
  • acknowledge that different solutions will be required for different types of buildings;
  • remove the fuel cost element from EPC methodology, which encourages use of higher carbon heating;
  • take steps to improve air-quality though use of technology; and
  • ensure that achieving net-zero is via a “Just Transition” and “empowers individuals to choose affordable, decarbonised solutions that work for them”. A Just Transition should provide energy security, support those in fuel poverty, and provide opportunities for skills development and employment.

George Webb, Chief Executive at Liquid Gas UK, said: “LPG offers significant reductions in carbon emissions, and in our vision outlined today, the future for off-grid energy is looking cleaner and greener. The technology already exists for bioLPG to play a major role in the future energy mix of the UK. As a drop-in fuel with no expensive changes to heating systems required, bioLPG is an affordable and non-intrusive option for homes and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.”

“There are millions of homes across the UK that, unless undergoing a major redevelopment, a transition to electrified heating solutions (ground source heat pumps or air source heat pumps) is not affordable. These alternative options are also unlikely to consistently provide the levels of heating demanded by users. It is important that policy makers recognise a ‘one size fits all’ approach for off-grid energy will not work. Different solutions will be required for different types of buildings across the UK. As part of a mixed technology approach to decarbonisation, bioLPG can support the UK Government and devolved administrations to achieve net zero.”

Hickin said: “Liquid Gas UK and its membership are committed to working with policy makers to develop a long-term supportive policy framework to achieve net zero and address barriers hindering decarbonisation.”

“It’s also important that UK and devolved government bring everyone along on the decarbonisation journey and provide them with secure, reliable energy. We must support those in fuel poverty, develop new skills and contribute towards economic growth.”

Liquid Gas UK says BioLNG can be produced in a number of ways, “by applying a variety of thermal or chemical processes on different feedstocks such as vegetable oils, glycerol, sugar and waste”.

 

Rebranding

Liquid Gas UK is a trade association which represents the UK LPG industry. On the same day the association launched its 2040 Vision it announced a rebranding from UKLPG to Liquid Gas UK.

Webb said: “The change to Liquid Gas UK comes at a time when we are seeing the political and economic landscape on energy and climate change ramp up. As we move away from fossil fuels to net-zero, it is important that the LPG industry is seen as a modern and innovative industry that is taking a lead in the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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