Gas Natural Fenosa, the multinational energy firm based in Spain, and HAM Criogénica, part of Spain’s Ham Group, presented the European GARneT (Gas as an Alternative for Road Transport) project this week in Brussels at a conference organised by the European Commission. The project allows for the creation of a network of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) stations that provide service to long-distance vehicles that use this fuel.
The aim of the GARnet project is to analyse, from a technological as well as an economic point of view, which are the best alternatives for enabling the development of an extensive LNG supply network.
The project, which has a total budget of EUR 3.8 million (USD 4.96 million), recently received EUR 1.9 million (USD 2.5 million) financial assistance from the European Agency for Trans-European Transport Networks (Ten-T EA) — the European Commission body whose mission is to assure the technical and financial development of trans-European transport infrastructure projects, with a special focus on innovation.
In order to carry out the study and validate the results of the GARnet project seven LNG service stations, four fixed and three mobile, will be set up in Spain to test the technologies with the greatest potential for roll-out on a European level. The integration of communication technologies for the supply of large volumes of LNG to future LNG stations, which will enable the network to be properly managed, will also be evaluated.
The stations will be located on some of the main European goods traffic routes, at such a distance that the lorries that use LNG can circulate without supply problems.
This project is established within the European Union’s objectives for road transport, which are aimed at promoting and harmonising safer, more efficient and less polluting services. In this context, LNG is seen as a sound alternative for reducing transport-derived emissions.
A viable fuel for transport
The use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel for transport contributes to improved air quality, given that it reduces oxide and nitrogen emissions and suspended particles, the main pollutants that affect human health, by more than 85%, and CO2 emissions, the main cause of the greenhouse gas effect, up to 20%.
Natural gas also reduces noise pollution, because a natural gas engine produces 50% less noise than a conventional engine.
Natural gas is a very competitive fuel from an economic point of view when compared with diesel and petrol, given that it can achieve savings of up to 30% with respect to the former and 50% with respect to the latter.
At this time, there are almost 3,500 vehicles that use natural gas in circulation in Spain, mainly heavy vehicles in the urban environment, such as waste collection lorries and buses. A total of 26 cities now have supply stations, including Madrid, Barcelona, Burgos, Salamanca, Seville and Valencia.
Driving natural gas for transport in Spain
Gas Natural Fenosa is driving CNG as an automotive fuel in Spain. The company has installed 24 supply stations, with a total supply capacity of 701 GWh/year. An additional 17 stations are pending start-up in the 2012-2013 period, which is an increase in potential consumption of 373 GWh/year. 40% of the new facilities can recharge CNG as well as LNG vehicles, which means this fuel can be used in long-range applications on Spanish and international transport routes.
Ham Group is a group of service companies devoted to the world of gases, among which includes design, construction and maintenance of Liquefied Natural Gas plants, the merchandising of gas and dangerous goods transport and supply. With its commitment to new technologies, HAM offers global energy solutions to the road transport sector, as well as in engineering, remote control and logistics.
(This article compiled using information from a Gas Natural Fenosa press release)