AGL Energy Limited (AGL), based in Sydney, plans to roll out Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations across the east coast, accelerating involvement in the alternative fuel market for transport vehicles in Australia. AGL Smart CNG was launched at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne by AGL Managing Director Michael Fraser and The Hon Russell Northe MP, Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources and Minister for Small Business.
Unveiling its vision for CNG, Fraser explained AGL’s rationale behind plans to create a viable and competitive fuel offering for the transport industry: “The sixth largest country by landmass, Australia’s road transport sector is central to our economy, getting food from farms to homes and connecting businesses to markets. The transport sector is also the second most energy intensive industry in Australia. A rising proportion of our road transport sector is also fuelled by foreign crude and fuel imports, increasing from 60 percent in 2000 to over 90 percent today. Diversifying our fuel mix and building an alternative fuels industry locally is part of the solution to developing a more resilient economy.”
Fraser pointed out that the roll-out will bolster Australia’s alternative transport fuel capacity, improve market competitiveness and contribute to the nation’s longer term energy security.
The new public and on-site refuelling stations, which are suited for dedicated commercial trucks and vehicles, are planned to be located in key geographical areas, enabling fleets to refuel without altering their routes. AGL is scheduled to develop the national CNG public refuelling infrastructure, starting in Melbourne this year.
According to AGL’s General Manager of Business Customers and Power Development Scott Thomas, CNG is the next generation of fuel for trucks, and AGL aims to establish AGL Smart CNG as a long-term, viable and widely available fuel for commercial customers. “Australian businesses that are focused on cost effectiveness, operational efficiency and reducing environmental footprints will benefit from wider availability of CNG,” Thomas said.
CNG is on the rise globally with approximately 142,000 Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) already on the road in the United States and more than 17 million NGVs operational around the world, according to NGV Global. By the end of this decade, it is forecast that 30 percent of heavy trucks in the US will shift to natural gas (both CNG and LNG) as a transport fuel.
“In Australia, foreseeable growth in CNG refuelling infrastructure is contributing to an increase in investment from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in CNG-compatible vehicles. Natural gas transport products provide local transport operators with improved operational benefits, lower operating costs, and a proven and low emission fuel supply,” Thomas added.
Attending the launch in Melbourne, Minister for Energy and Resources and Small Business Russell Northe said, “It is promising to see industry evolving with a changing economy and environment where efficiency and innovation are integral to the sustainability of the transport sector, both for large industry players such as AGL and small businesses that will benefit from more cost effective methods of transport.”
AGL’s truck show exhibit included several CNG dedicated short-haul and rigid trucks – the Isuzu FSR 850 Medium CNG, Isuzu NLR 200 Medium CNG, Iveco Daily CNG and Mercedes-Benz Econic 2628G LL 6×4 NGT. AGL has already received enquiries from a number of leading Australian businesses for Alternative Fuel Strategy Workshops, and anticipates this will grow following today’s launch of AGL Smart CNG.
(Source: AGL Energy Limited)