On Tuesday afternoon, NGV2014 South Africa had its second session: “Natural Gas Revolution. How State-of-the-Art Technology is Changing the Market: LNG, Biogas, Shale Gas.” With Lennart Pilskog, secretary general of NGVA Europe, as moderator, the conference included speeches by Tim Lahner of Royal HaskoningDHV (South Africa), Mattias Svensson of the Swedish Gas Technology Center, Eddie Cooke of SABIA (South Africa), and René Laks of GroengasMobiel (Netherlands).
Lahner, Market Segment Leader, Industry & Energy, at Royal HaskoningDHV, was the first speaker with “Small-Packaged LNG: Solutions for Stranded Sources and Markets.” He said that despite being slow and expensive, conventional bulk solutions are still “necessary and inevitable” for LNG supply chain. However, he suggested a short-term solution with long-term benefits through small-scale LNG appliances that include different applications.
He explained that conventional solutions require massive infrastructure, featuring pipelines and large ship tankers, while small-scale LNG involves smaller, modular, scale-able and movable infrastructure through LNG container trucks, with shorter lead-times, smaller capital expenditure, shorter payback periods and quick access to stranded sources.
On behalf of the Swedish Gas Technology Center, Mattias Svensson, Program Manager of Gaseous Transport Fuels, spoke about “Biomethane, the Renewable and Domestic Automotive Fuel – Technology, Market Dynamics and Potential.” His presentation described biomethane as the biofuel with the highest potential through its high substrate flexibility and its superior conversion and surface efficiency, including full utilization of energy with solutions available now and promotional fuel value.
Biomethane in transportation is one solution to meet several urban challenges, giving waste treatment an image boost while saving money, and facilitating fulfilment of urban transport key policy issues, Svensson said. He also stressed that NGV market has to face an oil-dependent transport identified as a major challenge, and needs more gas companies looking for new markets; clients wanting renewable transport products; national, regional and local interest and policy making; and public-private partnerships to build a biomethane powered market.
The conference also included a presentation from Eddie Cooke, Vice Chairman of SABIA (Southern African Biogas Industry Association). “Biomethane: Renewable Energy Source for African Mobility” addressed the slow development of local biogas industry with only 200 digesters, and the challenges they have to face, including lack of awareness of the energy, environmental and social benefits of biogas technologies by all stakeholders; complex administrative processes for project development and authorization; no supportive legal framework; lack of dedicated financing mechanisms; and no standards for safe use of biogas.
Cooke also stated: “Biomethane from regenerative biomass is a domestic fuel source that saves import of oil products; it’s flexible and can be stored, transported, compressed for fuel and fed into gas grids; it’s cost efficient; it’s market ready and long available with large portfolio of suitable cars and other vehicles; it’s safe since methane is lighter than air and does not accumulate on the ground; and it’s integrative serving as complementary energy to other forms of renewables.”
To conclude, René Laks, Managing Director of GroengasMobiel (Dutch Natural Gas and Biogas Vehicle Association), presented “Best of Both Worlds, the Pivotal Role of Natural Gas and Biogas in Dutch Transport.” He explained that challenges in energy transition are global, such as world energy trilemma, gas infrastructure or diversifying energy production. In this sense, he stressed that biogas will be a pillar in Dutch energy transition. It is a “green value in transport” as national and European targets are increasingly including CO2 reduction.
Moreover, Laks provided a roadmap for South Africa and suggested to “identify the business case for (bio)CNG and (bio)LNG, to focus on key segments such as taxis, buses and garbage trucks, and to start with water treatment and landfill.”
Photo 1: René Laks
Photo 2: Eddie Cooke
Photo 3: Mattias Svensson
Photo 4: Tim Lahner