Italy’s LNG refuelling infrastructure continues to roll out with the recent opening last week of the first LNG refuelling station in the Alto Adige region, near the border with Austria. The opening was attended by Italian OEM IVECO, which took the opportunity to deliver the first Stralis NP LNG for Italian transportation specialist FERCAM S.p.A.
The opening of the first LNG station in Vipiteno (Bolzano) along the Brenner Autostrada (A22), which connects Innsbruck in Austria to Modena in northern Italy, is a significant step towards providing an effective solution to the freight traffic restrictions on the Italian-Austrian-German route and the traffic bans for diesel trucks that the Tyrol region is extending to Euro 4 vehicles.
With Stralis NP LNG vehicles in their fleet, businesses such as FERCAM will be able to take full advantage of the exemption of LNG commercial vehicles from the LKW-Maut (lit. ‘HGV Toll’) system in Germany and deliver their logistics services across Italy and Germany without polluting the environment and with significantly reduced operating costs.
At the opening event, IVECO delivered the first Stralis LNG vehicles of an order placed by FERCAM, a leading multinational company in transalpine logistics, to develop their sustainable logistics services. The company, which is based in the Alto Adige region, chose to keep its commitment to customers by opting for eco-sustainable vehicles with a low environmental impact.
The LNG refuelling station, owned by APS Fuel (Auto Plose Sodobre srl), was inaugurated on October 19th at the Sadobre truck terminal in Vipiteno.
The Assembly of Tyrol (the Austrian border region in the Alps) announced a few days previously its decision to ban Euro 4 trucks from August 2019 and to extend the restriction to Euro 5 vehicles in 2021. In addition, it is planning to extend the current area restrictions to Euro 6 vehicles for all vehicles with a weight above 7.5 tonnes that transport a wide range of classified goods. In the face of such stringent measures, LNG vehicles, which are exempt from the traffic restrictions in place, provide an environmentally and financially sustainable solution, facilitating logistics operations in a key geographical area for freight transport entering and exiting Italy.
The new refuelling station is destined to play a role of great importance, as it is positioned close to the Brenner Pass, which suffers from environmental pollution, and it provides a practical solution to the increasingly intense debate on this issue.
Pierre Lahutte, IVECO Brand President, commented at the opening: “Technology that uses clean fuel like natural gas or biomethane – which our Natural Power vehicles feature – provides an immediate and practical solution for crossing the Brenner Pass and the whole alpine route in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. Traffic bans on diesel vehicles in the Tyrol and other regions in the north of Italy, and exemption from the MAUT toll system in Germany, further confirm that natural gas is the most effective response to the environmental impact of road transport. With our full range of natural gas powered vehicles, IVECO has made sustainability a reality for many customers who, like FERCAM, have chosen to share our future vision of the transport sector.”
The 24-hour refuelling station, which can stock 80 m3 of LNG and refuel around 250 articulated trucks per day, features 12 high flow pumps spread over six lanes, to make refuelling quicker. The station also offers a variety of additional services to meet all customer needs, including 300 parking spaces for heavy goods vehicles. There is built-in capacity to expand LNG supply when called for.
FERCAM’s purchase of natural gas powered vehicles is part of the company’s 2015-2020 strategic objectives within their “CLEAN, SMARTER LOGISTICS” program in response to the ever-growing demand for sustainability within the transport sector.
Stralis NP Performance
The vehicles are equipped with cryogenic tanks to deliver a range of 1600 km. They combine a high performance, equal or better than that of equivalent diesel vehicles, and maximum environmental and financial sustainability, with considerably reduced Total Costs of Ownership.
“Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is particularly well suited to freight and public transport,” commented Alex Gasser, owner of the GASSER IVECO dealership which services the region. “With our LNG engines we are able to reduce Particulate Matter emissions by 99% compared to Euro VI standards, NO2 by 90% and CO2 by up to 10% compared to its diesel counterpart – and, with biomethane, by as much 95%. In addition, these vehicles operate much more quietly. The vehicles FERCAM has taken delivery of, in particular, feature an optional SILENT MODE function that reduces noise levels to 71 dB, as measured during the Piek Quiet Truck test. We are extremely proud that a transport company based in Alto Adige such FERCAM has chosen our vehicles, and we are confident that soon local administrations will follow suit and choose natural gas for urban passenger transport. City centres could also benefit greatly from this technological innovation.”