The Role of Foam Insulation in the LNG Chain
To transport natural gas overseas, the gas is transformed into a liquid and becomes liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG takes up about 1/600th of the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state, making it more cost-effective to ship.
Once liquefied, LNG must be kept at cryogenic temperatures (-163° C) to keep it in its liquid state. If the LNG reaches its boiling point (-161° C) the gas will boil off. Some boil-off gas can be used to fuel the ship, but since all ships do not run at peak speeds at all times, some boil-off gas must be incinerated.
Lost LNG is a significant problem for industry, accounting for millions of dollars in value per ship during its lifetime. Specially-designed shipping vessels are foam insulated to minimize boil-off rate (BOR).