Glossary letter L

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A standardized method used to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts of a product, process or company on the environment, from raw materials extraction to end-of-life recycling or disposal. It includes building mathematical models of environmental impacts.



Rock whose properties are somewhere between peat and coal. It has a carbon content of about 70 to 75%. It is a low-grade, polluting fuel that is used in industrial boilers. Also called brown coal.

Limnic Coal Basin

Sedimentary basin that originated inland when sediment was deposited in lakes or swamps.


Conversion of a gas to a liquid. In industrial applications, gas is liquefied by cooling and/or pressurization so that it takes up much less space when being stored and shipped.

Liquefaction Train

A series of heat exchangers that gradually reduce the temperature of natural gas to -160°C. The liquefied gas can be transported by an LNG carrier.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

LNG is composed almost entirely of methane. Liquefying the gas reduces its initial volume by a factor of around 600, making it possible to ship it on LNG carriers.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Combination of light hydrocarbons produced partly from the refining of crude oil (about 40%) and partly from the processing of natural gas (about 60%). It consists primarily of propane and butane and is used mostly as a fuel for cooking, heating, lighters and other applications. It can also be used to fuel motor vehicles; there were 250,000 autogas LPG-powered vehicles in France at the end of 2012. As a fuel source, LPG is considered to be cleaner than liquid hydrocarbons and much cleaner than coal, because no particles are released during its combustion.

Lithium-Ion Technology

Technology in which energy is stored in batteries containing lithium-ion electrolyte. It offers a number of technical advantages, including a high energy density (two to five times greater than for standard nickel-metal hydride batteries) and no memory effect (certain batteries deteriorate if they are recharged after being only partially discharged). The main disadvantage of lithium-ion technology is its high cost, which is why its use was long confined to small devices such as computers, mobile phones and MP3 players. High-power lithium-ion batteries are now used in electric and hybrid vehicles and in the aerospace industry.

LNG Carrier


Ship used to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Low carbon

Low-carbon energy is energy that emits little or no carbon dioxide (CO2) when it is produced. Renewable energies are considered low carbon. Biomass emits CO2 when burned, but only as much as it previously removed from the atmosphere. Nuclear energy is low carbon but non-renewable.