Japanese utility company Tokyo Gas has just drawn the curtain back on what is the world’s largest underground liquified natural gas (LNG) storage tank. Construction on the tank began roughly four years ago in Yokohama City, near Tokyo, and now the utility has begun showing it to the media this week.
Japan has quickly become the world’s largest importer of LNG, a result of the increasing reliance on fossil fuels as all but two of the country’s nuclear reactors remain offline following the Fukushima disaster. So, it makes sense that more storage space is in demand. The new tank measures 72 meters (236 feet) in diameter and is almost 62 meters (203 feet) deep, and is able to hold up to 250 million liters (66 million gallons) of LNG – enough to meet the average yearly demand of almost 360,000 homes. The inside the of the tank is covered with 2-millimeter-thick stainless steel plates in order to prevent leaks, and it is also capable of storing shale gas. Construction is scheduled to be finished by July, and Tokyo Gas says it plans to begin using the tank in November.
Energy experts believe the demand for natural gas will only rise, as it produces less carbon dioxide when burned than oil or coal. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also adds that Japan’s demand for LNG in 2015 will be 15% higher than what it was in 2010, the year before Fukushima nuclear crisis.
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