Hopefully, Puget Sound Energy, or PSE, will receive final permit approval so it can complete its Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, plant currently under construction on the Tacoma’s Tide Flats.
For background, LNG is natural gas chilled to a liquid state, (minus 260 degrees), for shipping and storage. The volume of natural gas in its liquid state is about 600 times smaller than in its gaseous state. The comparison is similar to condensing air in a beach ball to a ping-pong ball.
In its liquid state, LNG is not explosive. If spilled on land or water, it vaporizes and leaves no residue behind. During LNG processing many greenhouse gases, or GHG, such as CO2, are removed. So are traces of mercury.
Most cargo ships today run on diesel or bunker fuel. The Port of Tacoma’s most recent emissions inventory showed that, while ship-related emissions have dropped, they still accounted for 63 percent of the maritime-related diesel particulate matter emissions.
Switching to LNG is imperative to further cut GHG levels.
TOTE Puerto Rico Maritime already has two LNG-powered containerships sailing between Jacksonville, Fla., and San Juan. The ships are designed to roll cargo on and off without large gantries. They were key to supplying essentials to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma ravaged the island in September 2017.