University of Calgary researchers focused on nanotechnology say they have developed a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to create liquefied natural gas.
Associate professor Nassar Nashaat and student Arash Ostovar say the Split Flow Integrated LNG process they developed and patented uses specialized materials and chemistry to remove carbon dioxide and other impurities from the natural gas stream without having to cool and then warm the gas as is done now in the leading LNG process.
The result is that capital costs are reduced because less equipment is needed, while operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions are lowered because less energy, water and chemicals are consumed.
Environmentalists have charged that building B.C.’s many proposed LNG projects — including the $40-billion LNG Canada project led by Shell Canada which is now under construction — will make it impossible for the province to meet its GHG emission reduction targets.
Travis Balaski, vice-president of Calgary-based Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, says he was impressed after seeing a presentation on the new LNG technology but is concerned about its actual operating costs.
Ferus is planning a $40-million expansion to triple the output from its LNG plant near Grande Prairie in northern Alberta.
The plant uses conventional LNG technology to produce fuel for oilwell drilling operations and community electricity generation in remote communities, using trucks to deliver the product.
“This technology is obviously quite attractive to a company like us but it’s got to be proven before we would ever be in a position to deploy it,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Friday, Sept. 20.