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LNG is a new environmentally-friendly fuel for freighters and heavy road traffic. The success of LNG must be built on safe storage, tank stations, and the like while proper law and regulations are needed for the granting of permits, for example. The LNG Safety Programme, which began last February, is a unique public-private partnership that aims to remove such obstacles.
LNG is liquefied natural gas at a temperature of -162°C. This low temperature reduces the volume by a factor of 600 to enable easy and cheap transport and storage. Moreover, combustion produces less particulate matter and emissions, LNG-powered engines are quieter and the new fuel reduces our dependence on oil. The National LNG Platform is pushing to introduce the fuel, the Green Deal LNG aims to have at least 50 inland shipping vessels, 50 sea-going ships and 500 trucks using LNG by 2015. Within the platform the idea arose to set up a national safety programme to remove legislative obstacles such as permit applications.
Requesting a permit goes beyond a single legislative issue. In its Decree on External Safety Constructions (BEVI) the government set out the limits for granting permits: how much fuel you can store, the distance it must be from new housing development, and so on. LNG is not yet cited in that decree, which means the industry does not know where it can build an installation, the fire brigade does not know how to deal with an incident and there are many more gaps in knowledge and regulations. The government is taking advice from the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) but it cannot answer all the questions. By clustering the strengths in a programme and deciding on the types of installations, regulations will be easier to get off the ground.
The LNG Safety Programme is a two-year research programme into the safety of LNG as a transport fuel. Its participants are the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, RIVM, NEN, Deltalinqs, the industry itself and TNO. A third of the funding comes from the Topconsortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI), a third from the Ministry and a third from the industry (members of the het National LNG Platform). NEN is programme coordinator and we take care of the technical coordination. TNO works regularly for RIVM, the government and industry. Now the industry is supporting the research that will be the foundation for the desired law and regulations. The programme is evidence of this unique collective effort by all these parties to realise this goal. Like the technical committee in which public and private parties share knowledge about installations.