After Cortvriend introduction words, Mats Franzén, head of Engine Strategy from Volvo Trucks, Sweden, spoke about strategy and thoughts surrounding the manufacturer’s methane-diesel technology. As a way to start with his speech, he listed three serious concerns: the depletion of natural resources, the acceleration of global warming and the effects of exhaust emissions. “As a result, we need to work on both alternative fuels and energy efficiency. Trucks are running more hours a day; that is why natural gas and biogas are a big step forward”.
He presented tomorrow product offering with Euro 6 standard and then explained why they had chosen Methane/Diesel system, including animated graphics which made the combustion process clearer for the audience. “It is all promising and we are really proud of our products “, he concluded.
Later on, Daimler AG Senior Manager Manfred Shuckert (Germany) discussed on the potentials and challenges of CNG and LNG for heavy commercial vehicles. The already introduced Mercedes-Benz B 200 Natural Gas Drive represents an example for future-ready technology. “Further improvements in engine technology and alternative drivetrains will help to reduce dependency on diesel/gasoline,” he noted. In the US, Freightliner has delivered more than 1800 natural gas-powered trucks and tractors since 2008, plus 400 more on order.
He said that cost advantages and lower CO2 emissions of natural gas might lead to a significantly growing gas demand towards 2020. Among many other issues, Shuckert emphasized the important role played by Euro 6 and the high pressure direct injection (HPDI) solution, which offers a high efficiency. From his point of view, future infrastructure for sustainable mobility will be complex. “We need significant improvements on this subject and governments should provide more backing,” he summarized.
The Daimler executive was followed by Massimo Ferrera from Centro Ricerche Fiat EMEA Region, Powertrain Engineering, Research & Technology, Alternative Fuels (Italy), who presented his paper “Natural Gas: the Green Choice for Transportation.” He reported that 72,000 CNG cars were sold in Europe in 2012, compared to 18,000 electric cars sold in the same period. “Natural gas is an intrinsically clean fuel, the cheapest solution and is a bullet to fulfill CO2 2020 targets,” he considered.
He also talked about the proprietary natural gas technology, the engine portfolio and the NGV range available. He recalled that TwinAir Turbo CNG had won the Best Green engine of 2013 award.
On behalf of Audi AG, Reinhard Otten, Analyst Sustainability Product (Germany) detailed the widely known Audi E-Gas Project, an integrated approach to sustainability in mobility and energy supply. Production of the plant located in NW Germany is expected to start this summer.
“Hydrogen may play a greater role than many people believe”, he assured before showing a short movie in which the innovative project above mentioned was presented and explained by an expert. The audience could understand how methanization process is achieved. As a conclusion, he stated that methane is a universal energy carrier with different climate neutral options, while natural gas infrastructure is a crucial element for the introduction of renewable energies.
After this last contribution, the facilitator introduced Gordon Exel Westport Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Americas & EMEA (France), who gave an “Overview of NGV Technologies for On- and Off-Road Transport Applications.” He made a comparison of diesel alternative with company’s natural gas engine technologies (spark-ignited, dual-fuel and HPDI) and then explained each one of them in detail.
In 2012, Westport and Caterpillar announced agreement to develop natural gas technology for off-road equipment. “Westport will supply key natural gas fuel system components and the product ready in about five years,” Exel stated. In addition, he said that significant off-road opportunities were mine haul trucks, shale fruc trucks & pumps, tugboats and locomotives
As part of Carrocera Castrosua (Spain), R&D and Business Development Director Carlos Roca talked about company’s figures and production capacity and offered his point of view on natural gas adoption in transport.
Castrosua product range includes urban (City Versus, Tempus), suburban (Magnus.E) and long distance (Stellae) buses. Over 1000 CNG-powered buses have been delivered so far by the company; chassis are from Iveco, MAN, Scania, Mercedes and Castrosua, while the Spanish cities involved are Salamanca, Barcelona, Toledo, Valencia, Madrid, Sevilla, Leganés, Burgos y Málaga.
Tomas Aminoff, Director of Technology Strategy at Wärtsilä Ship Power (Finland) presented the dual-fuel engine portfolio, as well as and gas solutions including regasification and reliquefaction systems, small/mini scale LNG liquefaction plants, fuel gas systems.
Among gas fuelled vessels in the Baltic, he mentioned ship owners such as Anthony Veder, Viking Line and Finnish Border Guard. In addition, he described the mini scale liquefaction plant at ports and the LNG distribution chain.
Scheduled as the final speaker, Olof Källgren, Head of Clean Energy Merchant LNG, Linde (Sweden) addressed the audience with his paper “Hands-on Experiences from Small Scale LNG Infrastructure – a Linde/AGA/BOC View.” The company is engaged in a complete value chain for small to mid-scale liquefaction plants in Germany, Australia, Norway and China, while owning and operating small scale LNG operations in Altamont (USA) and Scandinavia. He said that key factors to establish LNG as alternative fuel in Europe for heavy road transport are fuel supply and infrastructure. Regarding this last issue, he believes chicken-egg problem persist.
In terms of successful experiences, Linde’s subsidiary BOC is building and operating LNG production and fuel station network in Australia, while Linde North America has purchased 40 LNG powered trucks for its own distribution fleet.