The second day of NGV2014 Brussels, which is currently being held in Belgium, started with the Workshop 2 “Vehicles & Engines Technologies,” during which industry experts tried to find out what is coming next and what is now in development, including product plans and ideas of the car, trucks and bus producers. The session was facilitated by Liam Breslin, Head of Unit Surface Transport of European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation.
In the first place, Mats Franzen, Product Manager Engines of Volvo Trucks (Sweden) gave a detailed explanation of the presentation related to the company’s “Methane-Diesel/LNG Truck for Long- and Regional Haul.” He said that there are two roads to sustainable transportation, one is alternative fuels and the other one is energy efficiency (the fuel that is not consumed), and added, “the Volvo strategy includes Diesel-Methane solutions because we think it has best environmental impact and best commercial opportunities.” As far as he is concerned, commercial benefits for fleets as a result of the system operation are: reduced fuel cost; equally efficient and driveable; diesel as a backup; and 25 % lower fuel consumption than traditional Otto-cycle engine.
The next speech called “Potential and Challenges of CNG and LNG for Long-Haul Trucks in Europe” was delivered by Manfred Schuckert, Senior Manager EA/R of Automotive Regulatory Strategy, Emissions & Safety for Commercial Vehicles at Daimler AG (Germany). Rising energy demand in road transport force governments to develop challenging fuel economy/CO2 standards for HDV but “harmonization in regulations will really help the market.” Euro VI vehicles will bring significant improvements for air quality in cities and Euro VI package delivers what policy required. By 2020, HDVs will be very minor in the contribution to Nox and PM emissions, despite a growing demand on transport performance. “Besides LNG supply, other fuels need to be considered,” he added.
Following Schuckert, Federico Giovanetti, Alternative Fuels Product Manager at Medium & Heavy Trucks Product Management of Iveco (Italy), addressed the audience with his paper “CNHi – IVECO: a Complete Offer of CNG/LNG Transport Solutions.” He pointed out that “biomethane is the best opportunity for environmental sustainability.” Since price is crucial to make a fuel chosen by customers, Iveco offers a wide range of models to deliver proper and economic solutions for transportation. He believes that there’s a big opportunity for LNG in intercity bus segment. “And the most important thing is to let clear to the end customer that this solution (natural gas) is safe, reliable, efficient and –above all- cost-effective,” he concluded.
After that, Luigi Santini, Chief Engineer CNG Engines at FPT Industrial – CNH Industrial Group (Italy) presented “FPT Natural Gas Engines: the Way to High Performances and Low Emissions.” The company’s short/medium term strategy is connected to a high performance, i.e. new engines with larger displacement, higher torque and power output for long haul applications, improved fluid-dynamic and combustion efficiency, enhanced engine control strategy and introduction of off-road engine range. The medium/long-term strategy seeks to achieve reduced fuel consumption, improved engine thermo-dynamic efficiency and innovative combustion concept and components.
In addition, Robert Staimer Product Marketing – Efficiency Advisor of MAN Truck & Bus AG (Germany) expounded his views through the document “Comparing Future Technologies” by saying that “tomorrow demands can only be met by a user-specific mix of technologies.” Not only that, but also he stated that natural gas buses are reliable, clean, CO2 neutral by using biomethane, affordable and the only solution that meets all the requirements of the market. “CNG is the only fuel that ticks all the boxes,” he summarized.
Later on, Anders Johansson, Senior Director Research & Development at Westport Automotive (Sweden) talked about “Volvo Bi-Fuel – a Product of a Successful OEM Partnership.” He said that bi-Fuel variants fit in the environmental vehicle range adding value to the existing Volvo product portfolio. “Customers’ expectations when buying a Volvo vehicle are: quality level, integration with the OEM dealer support, OEM warranty and a full range of equipment level,” he explained. The Volvo bi-fuel has been on the market over the last five years and Westport is located the car manufacturer’s plant.
What is more, Massimo Ferrera, Alternative Fuels Director at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Italy) spoke about the company’s natural gas based technology, which is also ready for biomethane, and said that their current portfolio “covers all the needs of the users.” Regarding the stats from Fiat Group NGVs in Europe, he informed that they had 67% market share, 600,000 cars and light commercial vehicles sold since 1997 and 12 models that form a wide eco-friendly bi-fuel range. “European market is the right place to design the future of natural gas for transportation,” he added.
The paper “The Audi E-Gas Project – Integrated Approach to Sustainability in Mobility and Energy Supply” was analyzed thoroughly by Reinhard Otten, Analyst Sustainability Product Development at Audi AG (Germany). The highlights of his speech are the following: CNG vehicles are a big issue for Audi and the Volkswagen Group; methane is an universal energy carrier with different climate neutral options; the natural gas infrastructure is a crucial element for the introduction of renewable energies into the electric power grid (backup power, flexibility, storage, and more); power-to-gas is the only available technology of high capacity for long term storage; mobility is the strongest drive for a positive PtG business case; CNG infrastructure should be improved in order to make more renewable energy possible in the mobility sector.
Last but not least, Zoran Stojanovic, Product Manager of Scania CV AB (Sweden) presented company’s offering through the paper “Scania’s High Performance Methane Gas Engines for CNG/LNG”. He said that Euro 6 gas engines have the same torque and driveability as diesel. Then he provided some examples of NG truck applications, the G 340 Euro 6 with LNG, among others. “Natural gas is one part of the future in many countries, due to its availability, CO2 reduction and cost,” he ended.