Increased use of natural gas will lead to increase in compatible natural gas engines in the future
The demand for alternative fuels is in continuous rise in the power and transportation industry. This is mainly because of their low cost nature, lower CO2 emission compared to other fuels. The world population will reach 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion as of 2014; this will increase the energy demand in future. Researchers predict that one fifth of the energy demand in 2050 will be fulfilled by natural gas.
Natural gas use in transportation is in the early phase of development. The gradual shift in demand for natural gas engine powered vehicles around the globe especially in U.S. and Europe will drive the demand for natural gas consumption. Due to government legislation and regulation surrounding hazardous gas emission and lower fleet operating costs, the demand for natural gas engine is expected to increase.
Electric power sector is the largest consumer of natural gas in the U.S., followed by transportation sector. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), out of the total energy demand for electric sector, 25% demand was met by natural gas in the U.S. in 2013. Whereas, the percentage is quite low in transportation but due to the increasing sale of natural gas engines, the demand for natural gas is expected to grow exponentially in this sector. One of the great benefits in natural gas production is that, it can be converted to liquid form as well. Shell, a global oil giant has built the world’s largest gas to liquid (GTL) plant in Qatar in 2015, which will convert natural gas to liquid fuels and other lubricants. However, there are some challenges in storing the natural gas. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas cannot be stored on site and must be delivered for consumption. This barrier can be overcome with superior natural gas refuelling infrastructure.
Lubricants have direct impact on the efficiency of any machine. The efficiency of natural gas engine can be improved if right engine oil is used. Lubrizol Corporation, Infineum (Infineum M Series) produce and market engine oil additives packages which are compatible with engine oil formulated for natural gas engine. Improvement in technology will drive the growth of natural gas engine. Leading companies are investing huge amount in R&D to develop more efficient lubricants for natural gas engine and are preparing themselves for the future changes in the industry.