On November 19, the third conference of the NGV2014 South Africa program was formed by three experts who expounded on customers and experiences in different CNG and LNG applications. Diego Goldin, NGV Global executive director played as a moderator and introduced each speaker to the audience.
The first of them was Eric Mattheeuws, managing director of Mattheeuws Eric Transport NV, from Belgium, who presented his impressions on how an LNG truck station in Europe runs after a few months of operation. The executive said that the transport company he owns is a family business and consists of 180 trucks and 300 trailers. He also explained that they had chosen LNG as an alternative to petroleum to maximize their craftsmanship and the synergy potential, and to differentiate, remain profitable and ahead of competition in the different sectors of economy they work in.
“We had our own experience during the construction of the LNG station, which has been in service since September 17, 2014. We have learned from administration, planning permission, building control and studies on environmental impact and safety perimeters, among many other things,” he revealed. The businessman also highlighted the importance of partnerships in this kind of projects. For instance, the LNG infrastructure expertise taken from Fluxys or the trucks, backup and guarantees offered by Volvo.
Following Eric Mattheeuws, from the City of Johannesburg, the Strategic Support Advisor Alex Bhiman described the “Gas for Mobility Initiative”, carried out precisely by the local government. At a recent Summit, the Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau referring to the application of natural gas as vehicle fuel stated that the City was decided to do the change. “In following this pursuit the City is guided by its Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) for emission reduction, a shift to a low carbon economy and job creation,” Bhiman said.
The project begun with this political commitment at the highest level and, simultaneously, with a Metrobus mass transit system study focused on alternative fuels (natural gas, biomethane, electricity). “Now, there is a clear policy on dual fuel as part of a green roadmap, with larger emphasis on biogas, transport efficiency and GHG emissions reduction,” he added, as he regarded the city as both a significant customer and a facilitator in natural gas mobility.
The next speech was delivered by Devis Canella, Export area manager for Emer and OMVL products at Westport, whose paper “From Forklifts to Mining Trucks” helped understand how to drive a shift to natural gas as a transportation fuel. First of all, he talked about the different natural gas engine technologies, the fuels involved (CNG, LNG, biomethane), the suppliers (OEM and retrofit solutions) and all the applications possible.
The South African case shows the forklifts application (Toyota plant in Durban, 122 units, mono-fuel) and the maxi-taxis for Johannesburg (60 bi-fuel units). But there are many examples around the world demonstrating how natural gas as a transportation fuel works: forklifts, pickup trucks (Ford F250-F350), buses, refuse and heavy duty trucks (UPS) in the USA, city cars in Europe (VW up!), passenger cars in Sweden (Volvo V60, V70) and Europe (Audi A4 Avant), commercial vehicles in Italy (Opel Vivaro, Express Courier), trucks in Dominican Republic (for Coca-Cola Company), buses in Korea (Hyundai Universe, Busan), and HDVs in Canada (Vedder Transport).
“In North America, natural gas’ market share is 20% for buses and 50% for refuse trucks,” he reported. Canella also mentioned the technologies portable to other off-road applications, such as mine haul trucks, shale frac trucks and pumps, tugboats and locomotives.