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Establishing an energy hub in Trincomalee - I

Article Index
Establishing an energy hub in Trincomalee - I
Benefits to Sri Lanka in using natural gas
Proposals for the import of LNG to Sri Lanka
Situation in India on the use of NG
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Since winning the war, according to media reports, persons in both the public and private sectors have been talking about converting Sri Lanka into various hubs in such sectors as business, aviation, shipping, energy etc. Yes, Sri Lanka does have the potential to serve as an energy hub to serve the needs of both the South Asian region and the country’s. For this purpose, the availability of Trincomalee harbour, a gift of nature given to Sri Lanka, needs to be exploited. A moderate size natural gas terminal built at Trincomalee could serve this purpose.

Natural gas – the preferred source of energy

As a primary source of energy, countries world over are shifting to natural gas because of its many environmental benefits compared to those of coal. Natural gas (NG) does not emit any fly ash containing fine particulates, or any bottom ash containing hazardous substances, or any sulphur dioxide like other fossil fuels. For example, a 300 MW coal power plant generates daily about 250 tonnes of fly ash and about 60 tonnes of bottom ash. Though filters remove about 98-99% of the particulates from fly ash, the balance 2.5-5 tonnes are released into the atmosphere. However, with time, this amount could even increase. These very fine particulates cause much damage to the vegetation and health of the people living in the area where these ash settle down. Coal dust released during unloading is another hazard. With a NG fired power plant, there is absolutely no emission of any particulates or any SO2 emissions. Also, the amount of NOx emitted is also very much less.

The NG power plants have both local and global benefits. While the hazardous pollutants emitted and coal dust spread by a coal power plant are totally absent in NG power plants, the amount of CO2 emitted which cause global warming is also much less in NG plants, being only about 40% of what a coal power plant of similar capacity emits. Hence, many countries are shifting to NG as a source of clean energy and also to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and comply with the requirements of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).