“Compressed and liquefied natural gas are clean, domestically produced alternative fuels. Using these fuels in natural gas vehicles increases energy security and can lower emissions.” … “Natural gas is increasingly being used to replace gasoline in smaller applications, such as forklifts and commercial lawn equipment. Because natural gas is a low-carbon, clean-burning fuel, a switch to natural gas in these applications can result in substantial reductions of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, natural gas is nontoxic, so it isn't harmful to soil or water."
— U.S. Department of Energy
"Natural gas is the fossil fuel du jour. It is less polluting than either coal or petroleum in conventional uses, including residential, commercial and industrial applications, as well as in electricity generation ..."
— Raymond Kopp, writing for Resources
Increasing environmental awareness in the United States and elsewhere is one important reason why demand for natural gas is rising quickly. Natural gas produces fifty percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 33% less carbon dioxide than oil.
Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company's above-ground natural gas storage facility will offer an efficient way to store natural gas by refrigerating it so that the gas goes into a liquid phase which occupies only 1/600th of the original volume. Storing natural gas that comes into the state through existing pipelines increases the efficiency of the existing gas infrastructure. Gas can be brought in through these gas lines during off-peak times, stored and then returned back to the supply grid during peak periods or used for transportation, industrial and agriculture needs.
Replacing diesel fuel with clean-burning natural gas offers significant environmental benefits. Depending on the grade of fuel oil the natural gas replaces, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are reduced by 20-30%, carbon monoxide (CO) emissions are reduced by up to 75%, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are reduced by approximately 50%, particulate matter (PM) emissions are reduced by up to 95%, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions are reduced by 55%.*
In the unlikely event that gas should escape from the tank; methane is lighter than air. When released in the open, it will simply and harmlessly rise and dissipate. In the equally unlikely event that liquefied gas should escape, the spilled gas will not damage the ground or leave behind any residue after it evaporates, unlike fuel oils. Liquefied natural gas cannot contaminate the water supply - even if spilled directly onto water, it is insoluble and will evaporate and dissipate. Even in its original gaseous state, natural gas is not toxic.
The FGS facility is on the 145-acre Florida Steel Superfund Site in an area already zoned for industrial use near Indiantown. The site has been part of a Superfund clean-up remediation for over 12 years which is being directed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The site is in its final stages of remediation and has been available for restricted re-use since 2004. Because of EPA land-use restrictions for superfund sites, only certain types of enterprises can locate on this land that agree to accept the EPA restrictions going forward. An EPA website describing the Florida Steel site is http://www.epa.gov/region4/superfund/sites/npl/florida/flstefl.html. The size and location of the site also provide a greenbelt buffer for the gas storage facility.
* Source: TIAX Report - Full Fuel Cycle Assessment: Well-To-Wheels Energy Inputs, Emissions, and Water Impacts, 08/2007 (Prepared for California Energy Commission)