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?’ Central to solving this challenge is our 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 Britain’s four million homes that are off the main gas grid, therefore relying on alternative fuels to meet their 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?
For those looking to gain a deeper understanding, we shed some light on the oil vs. gas comparison.
Oil: an outdated energy supply
With the UK government committing to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, the pressure is on all industries to adopt greener energy policies, which means for off-grid businesses, in practical terms, 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 When considering the key features of oil, it’s not hard to see why it’s becoming an outdated off-grid option: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.
- 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.
- Potential savings: Businesses may benefit from cost savings when switching to LPG or LNG.
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).
- Carbon emissions: LPG is a lower-carbon alternative to oil with approximately a 20% lower carbon intensity. Since it does not contain sulphur, LPG is also a cleaner-burning fuel than oil.
- Cleaner air: LPG offers significant reductions in NOX emissions compared to other conventional fuels.3 Furthermore, LPG combustion emits almost no Particulate Matter (PM).3
- Compliant: LPG and LNG can help businesses to meet carbon and pollutant reduction targets set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, ULEZ, Marpol and Medium Combustion Plant Directive.
- Efficiency: LPG has a higher calorific value per tonne than other liquid fuels and burns more efficiently than other off-grid fuels.
- 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.3
Creating a greener future