By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jax Public Affairs Officer
A liquefied natural gas (LNG) demonstration to promote the benefits of the environmental and safety benefits of the product was held Dec. 6 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville for a small group of personnel from the station and Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast (NAVFAC SE).
The event, presented by representatives from Pivotal LNG and JAX LNG demonstrated how a natural gas vapor is converted to liquid that can be safely transported and efficiently stored for future use.
JAX LNG is a partnership between Pivotal LNG and Northstar Midstream. The partnership was created to bring LNG to Florida and possibly some Navy installations in the future.
"We are conducting a technical demonstration today to show the properties of natural gas in its vapor and liquefied states," said Pivotal LNG Fuels Manager Robert Butts.
"To be able to transport this natural gas efficiently, it must be converted into its liquid state. To do so, the gas vapor is first purified to remove moisture, sulphur oxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and then chilled minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting LNG can then be easily transported in cryogenic containers to the end user."
Once the gas is transported to the end users' locations, it is stored in special cryogenic tanks until it is needed. Then needed, the LNG is circulated through a vaporizer, regasified and distributed as natural gas in a pipeline.
"Natural gas can be used in many high horsepower applications as an infrastructure power source during emergencies," said Butts.
"It can displace diesel usage for power generation at military installations, out in the field or in deployed equipment during natural or man-made disruptions to reestablish electricity supply.
"The abundance of natural gas in the United States and the ability to transport it on roadways, by rail and sea to remote locations, provides energy planners the ability to use LNG as an energy source to develop resilient energy grids ensuring the nation's military installations readiness and mission performance."
According to NAVFAC SE Energy Manager Mike Chmura, the demonstration was held to promote the Navy's endeavors to incorporate LNG for future projects. "We are currently in the feasibility stage of an energy project at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," said Chmura. "We're looking at building a combined cycle power plant to use LNG to generate electricity to power the installation. This would be the first large scale LNG project used to power a whole installation, not only for the U.S. Navy, but for the Department of Defense."
During the demonstration, Richard Rogers, director of peaking operations for Pivotal LNG and Gary Northrup, plant manager for JAX LNG, performed a series of desktop demonstrations showing the differences between vapor natural gas and LNG.
They presented several safety features of LNG by igniting it to show how natural gas vapors extinguish quickly leaving no residue, demonstrating that there is no recovery or mitigation operation needed after a spill as LNG evaporates immediately leaving only ice crystals.
They also answered questions regarding industry standards and specifications of cryogenic and natural gas piping.
"We have been operating LNG plants since 1972 with no LNG safety incidents," said Rogers. "If you know your product characteristics and design, you will have a safe operation."
Pivotal LNG and Southern Gas Company currently operate six LNG plants in the Southeast United States. Construction of the JAX LNG facility began in October 2016 and is expected to be completed in early 2018.