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Is NET ZERO possible for heavy gas users?

Achieving NET ZERO emissions is a significant task, made all the more difficult if you use lots of gas for your process (for steam, drying, frying, furnaces etc). Gas is around 5-6x cheaper than grid electricity, so the cost of switching from gas is prohibitive.

This is a challenge I see a lot in all sorts of heat intensive sectors (food manufacturing, glass manufacturing, healthcare, care home etc).  Gas is typically used either for direct combustion or indirectly to produce steam.

In 2008, the electricity grid emitted over 570 g/kWh, and gas is around 180 g/kWh, so gas was “clean”.  In 2019 the grid has reduced to 255 g/kWh, and is tracking down to 130 g/kWh by 2030, with a target of zero by 2050, so gas is becoming seen as “dirty”, as it really hasn’t changed much.

Firstly there are developments happening that may start to decarbonise the grid such as biogas injection and hydrogen injection. You may wish to check how your equipment will run on a mix of gases.  For some it may mean planning to replace or refit equipment.

There are technology alternatives that can be looked at but a lot will depend on the temperature of the heat that you generate using gas just now e.g. furnaces, ovens, steam or hot water.  Also consideration should be given to recovering waste heat and using it to reduce gas consumption.

A relevant consideration is that over 50% of most electricity bills relates to “non-energy” costs.  This is the cost of the grid transformation that is happening including renewables obligations, cost of FITs, use of system charges etc.   If you generate power at your location but can often save a lot of these, which helps bring down the price gap to gas, and reduces the cost of switching.  Also this can enable a different mix of power generation to be considered at the site to re-balance electricity and gas use.

Many of the measures may have a longer payback time though.  How can you do them when the criteria for payback is only, say 2 years ?  This is the reason Onsite Energy Projects exists.  We recognised the challenge of capex availability and can provide a no-capex, off-balance sheet solution to implement both energy efficiency and on-site generation measures.

We may also be able to identify additional improvement measures, and deliver them all without any capex. If you would like to know more email us at info@on-site.energy or call on 0161 444 9989.

Onsite Energy Projects provides energy savings and energy generation solutions to energy intensive businesses, without capex if required.

Oil vs. gas: which should you choose for your business?

As the threat of climate change continues to gather pace, one of the burning questions of our time remains: ‘how can we create a greener, more sustainable future that still allows businesses to thrive?’ Here, Flogas, examine the debate currently gaining traction. 

Central to solving this challenge is energy usage, and the fuel we depend on in our daily lives and commercial operations. As such, businesses across the UK are now looking at ways to become more fuel-efficient – not only to help lower their carbon emissions, but also to bring down energy bills and save money in the long run.

Nowhere is this debate more prominent than in the 16% of the UK not serviced by the main gas grid, which relies on alternative fuels to meet its energy needs. For the majority of off-grid operations, this means a choice between oil, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas) for high-volume commercial applications. But what exactly are the differences between these fuels – and what should off-grid users consider when making decisions about their energy supply?

Oil: an outdated energy supply 

With the Committee on Climate Change urging the UK government to legislate as soon as possible to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the pressure is on all industries to adopt greener energy policies. What this means for off-grid businesses in practical terms is moving away from conventional, carbon-heavy fossil fuels. When considering the key features of oil, it’s not hard to see why it’s becoming an outdated off-grid option:

•Increased carbon emissions: As a major contributor to climate change, the burning of oil for heating and cooking purposes releases far higher levels of carbon into the atmosphere than more efficient off-grid fuels like LPG.

•Cost: Through a combination of factors such as dwindling oil reserves, environmental pressures and strained international relations, the price of oil remains volatile. This makes it difficult for businesses to forecast the cost of fuel and can cast doubts over the future of their supply chain.

•Maintenance: Due to its viscous nature, machines that operate on oil often take a large amount of maintenance to ensure they are running at optimum performance. This can also mean messy repairs if anything goes wrong.

The rise of LPG & LNG

With so many factors now working against businesses that are still using oil, it’s no surprise that many are now looking for an alternative fuel supply. The good news is that there are viable off-grid alternatives that offer compelling economic, environmental and logistical benefits. LPG and LNG are two such fuels. So, what are they, and how do they compare to oil?

•Chemical makeup – LPG is a blanket term for two types of natural gas (Propane and Butane) and is a natural by-product of gas and oil extraction (66%) and oil refining (34%). LNG is composed primarily of methane and is created by cooling natural gas to an extremely low temperature (-162°C). 

•Finance: Businesses can make immediate savings when switching to LPG or LNG through a reduction in energy usage.

•Carbon emissions: LPG and LNG have the lowest CO2 emissions of any 0ff-grid fossil fuels: LPG emits 36% fewer than gas oil, 22% fewer than kerosene and 17% fewer than heating oil. It also emits no black carbon (a significant contributor to climate change). 

•Cleaner air: LPG and LNG are clean, smoke-free burning fuels, that emit fewer pollutant emissions, including NOx, Sox and particulate matter (PM).

•Compliant: Because they’re cleaner, LPG and LNG help businesses to meet carbon and pollutant reduction targets set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, ULEZ, Marpol and Medium Combustion Plant Directive.

•Efficiency: With a higher calorific value per tonne than other liquid fuels, an LPG and LNG flame can burn hotter, releasing energy quicker. When used in conjunction with the likes of a steam boiler this can produce even greater efficiencies. 

•Extensive supply: LPG and LNG are in global abundance, so business owners can rest assured that they will have a dependable source of energy when they need it most. Flogas will be significantly increasing the UK’s total LPG storage capability with its new Avonmouth storage facility – the largest of its kind. 

•Easy Installation: Working alongside an expert team, switching from oil to gas couldn’t be easier. Specialist LPG companies can design and install a replacement heating system to meet your business’ needs. From the initial brief process to installation and even the removal of your old oil tank, with the right supplier there’s the option to have everything taken care of with minimal downtime. 

•Versatility: One of the main attractions of LPG is its versatility. From leisure and hospitality to agriculture and industrial heating, and even fuel for forklift trucks and fleet vehicles, LPG can be used as an energy supply for all manner of industries. 

Creating a greener future

As the cleanest, most efficient and effective fuel compared to conventional off-grid fuels like coal, oil and electricity, switching from oil to LPG (or LNG) could help businesses energy savings, ensuring compliance with government energy policies, and cutting down on maintenance time.

Image by Magnascan from Pixabay