Clean growth in manufacturing: The case for LPG

The Manufacturer takes a closer look at the government’s recently launched Clean Growth Strategy, what it means for the industry, and why liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) could hold the key to helping manufacturing operations achieve its vision.

Switching to a cleaner-burning fuel can spell big cost and efficiency savings for businesses.
Switching to a cleaner-burning fuel can spell big cost and efficiency savings for businesses.

In October 2017, the government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) unveiled the Clean Growth Strategy, outlining its proposed approach to building a lower-carbon future for the UK.

Through this the government has underlined its commitment to reducing emissions from rural buildings in particular – including a specific pledge to help off-grid businesses reduce their dependence on oil.

As many manufacturing plants are rurally located and therefore not connected to the mains gas network, these proposals are likely to affect the manufacturing industry quite significantly – not least operations that are currently using high-carbon fuels like oil, coal and diesel.

The good news is that switching to a cleaner-burning fuel can spell big cost and efficiency savings for businesses, not to mention wider logistical benefits. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a case in point.

So, what should manufacturers know about LPG and how it could help their business?

Savings, savings, savings

Firstly, and most importantly in the context of the Clean Growth Strategy, LPG can deliver compelling environmental savings. Why? Because it is the lowest-carbon conventional off-grid fuel available.

According to trade association UKLPG, the fuel emits a considerable 12% less CO2 than oil, and 35% less than coal. Not only this, but it emits no black carbon, which UKLPG cites as ‘arguably the second biggest contributor to global warming’.

LPG also delivers low particle emissions, low NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions and has a low sulphur content. In a nutshell, this means that a simple switch to LPG could significantly reduce a business’s carbon footprint (especially for high energy users in the manufacturing industry).

Secondly – and arguably just as importantly for budget-conscious business owners – LPG can deliver substantial financial savings.  With a higher calorific value than oil, it generates more energy when burned. Put simply, this means that LPG offers you more heat for your money!

Gaslight cylinders are almost half the weight of traditional LPG cylinders, but with very similar volumes – image courtesy of Flogas.
Gaslight cylinders are almost half the weight of traditional LPG cylinders, but with very similar volumes – image courtesy of Flogas.

What’s more, modern condensing LPG boilers cost less upfront to install than oil boilers, and are more cost-efficient to run over time (as oil boilers notoriously require much more regular maintenance and servicing).

Flexibility

Money and carbon savings aside, LPG offers businesses significant versatility. Available in both bulk and cylinder supply options, the fuel is easy to transport and store, and caters to virtually any commercial requirement.

In its bulk form, it is stored in an on-site tank or tanks – the size of which depends on the application’s energy demand. This setup is ideal for large-scale manufacturing operations with high energy needs – be they space heating, fuelling production equipment and industrial processes, powering forklift truck (FLT) fleets or all of the above.

For added convenience, leading UK LPG supplier Flogas fits all its tanks with in-built telemetry units as standard. These monitor fuel usage and automatically trigger an order when levels drop below an agreed point – providing business owners with real peace of mind.

In its cylinder form, LPG is incredibly useful for smaller-scale and/or less energy-intensive needs. Flogas offers a full portfolio of LPG cylinders in sizes ranging from 3.9kg right up to 47kg.

Its specialist Gaslight cylinders are particularly popular among manufacturers, as they are designed specifically for use as FLT fuel. Gaslight cylinders are almost half the weight of traditional LPG cylinders – making handling and transportation even simpler – and are incredibly robust thanks to being made from toughened plastic and fiberglass.

Last but not least, Gaslight cylinders are translucent, so FLT operators can easily see when fuel is running low.

Availability

Of course, LPG isn’t the only solution to cleaning up the UK’s energy landscape; renewable technologies have a long-term role too. That said, they aren’t yet a financially viable or accessible option for everyone in the UK.

In contrast, LPG is already a widely available and affordable energy source with national distribution – helping to bridge the gap between the likes of oil and renewables (e.g. heat pumps and biomass boilers). Flogas has more than 30 years’ experience in the LPG business, and has built up a robust national delivery network made up of more depots than any other UK supplier.

The big picture

For off-grid manufacturing plants, the benefits of switching away from high-carbon fossil fuels in favour of LPG are extensive and captivating.

As the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out and the government’s resolve to decarbonise heat on a national scale continues to strengthen, uptake of LPG in rural commercial applications is set to increase too – and manufacturing is certainly no exception.

For more information, please visit www.flogas.co.uk/business