As part of the workshops opening, Lennart Pilskog, NGVA Europe Secretary General (Sweden), and Didier Hendrickx, Marketing Manager at ARGB (Association Royale des Gaziers Belges) and NGVA.be Coordinator, addressed the main objectives of the industry and set up the scenario for future developments and growth in Belgium and in Europe. They also focused on the importance of natural gas use in vehicles in order to meet increasing and strict regulations from the EU regarding emission reduction.
Pilskog, who was the AB Volvo representative in the NGVA Europe Board of Directors between 2010 and 2013, said it is necessary to have a perspective focused on the new environmental regulations in Europe. “This is the time when we have to act, the journey have just started,” he stressed referring to the NGV market development.
He stated that European politicians have already understood the key role of natural gas in transportation. “Brussels is the capital of the EU and where the decision makers are. We feel the energy coming,” he added. He also explained it is crucial to “work with these ambitious and long-term targets” and to be ready to answer all questions from policy makers.
In turn, Pilskog highlighted the importance to form alliances with European energy agencies to achieve better results in each country. He mentioned a recent partnership with German agency Dena and remarked: “We hope to be successful with national support.”
Furthermore, Didier Hendrickx focused on the Belgian market. “In the second part of 2000’s something started to change about NGVs in Belgium; economic crisis and awareness of health problems have opened electricity and gas markets as well as renewable energies,” he said.
“In 2014 we need a boost, we need a global and common approach. We know the importance of communication, visibility and co-work with OEMs,” he commented. In this regard, he mentioned that from his association they have been working on three axis: communication and lobbying, taxes and incentives, and regulations.
Hendrickx said that companies like Fluxys and DATS24 or his association ARGB have been key actors in the development of Belgian NGV platform, which has grown steadily this year with “more than 700 cars ordered in 2,5 months, 1,300 NGVs (by the end of June) and new projects and stakeholders for CNG stations.”
“Belgium is located in a strategic area of Europe and we are at the beginning of our adventure. The future of NGVs in Belgium starts today with NGV2014 Brussels,” he added.