The substitution of diesel oil by liquefied natural gas (LNG) for heavy duty transportation in outstate São Paulo in Brazil would make possible a significant reduction of fuel costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as other pollutants. This is the picture presented in a study by the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI), in which four scenarios were analyzed.
RCGI is part of the Engineering School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP) and is financed by FAPESP in partnership with large companies.
“Within the best scenario, the use of LNG would reduce fuel costs by up to 40%; equivalent CO2 emissions by 5.2%; particulate materials by 88%; nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 75%, and eliminate hydrocarbon emissions,” states Pedro Gerber Machado, one of the researchers involved in the project.
The objective of the study, which resulted in an article published in the international Science of Total Environment magazine, was to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of substituting diesel oil by LNG for the purpose of establishing a Blue Corridor in the State. This concept appeared in Russia and designates routes on which trucks us LNG, instead of diesel oil.
Despite the economic and environmental advantages presented in the results of this study, LNG still faces regulatory barriers that must be addressed in order to allow its widespread use in the transportation sector. A Group of RCGI researchers warns of the crucial nature of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the difference between the “transport” and “distribution” piped natural gas, which decision RCGI describes as lacking definition.
“Dealing with subjects like Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage, which we are studying in other RCGI projects, cannot be bound up in this type of conflict. It is necessary to create a scenario that favors negotiation,” explained Professor Hirdan Katarina of Medeiros Costa, coordinator of the RCGI’s Project 21.
Brazil has regulations in place for the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as fuel but not for LNG.
“The biggest benefits, both in terms of pollution reductions and in prices of the fuels being discussed herein, are perceived in São Paulo and Campinas, which are regions with greater potential for substituting diesel oil by LNG and where diesel oil is more expensive than in the rest of the State. Our results show that in São Paulo, LNG can be up to 60% cheaper than diesel oil,” says Dominique Mouette, Professor in the School of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities of the University of São Paulo (EACH/USP); principal author of the article; and leader of the RCGI project focusing on the viability of a Blue Corridor in the State of São Paulo.
Access to Research
The article published in the international scientific magazine, entitled Costs and emissions assessment of a Blue Corridor in a Brazilian reality: The use of liquefied natural gas in transportation, is signed by researchers: Dominique Mouette Denis Fraga, Drielli Peyerl, Pedro Gerber Machado, Raquel Rocha Borges, Thiago Luis Felipe Brito, Lena Ayano Shimomaebara, and Edmilson Moutinho dos Santos.
A summary of methodology is available by clicking here.