Hexagon Composites’ new business area Hexagon Purus, launched in March this year, is substantially increasing its production capacity of high-pressure fuel tanks for CNG-powered passenger cars to meet the growing demand in Europe. Hexagon Purus recently entered into an agreement with its largest customer, Volkswagen AG, to triple the annual production volume.
In 2017, Volkswagen together with German operators of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) filling stations and gas networks committed to driving the expansion of CNG mobility in Germany. Since the start of the campaign, the increasing registration figures confirm that CNG engines are currently the type of power unit experiencing the most robust growth.
“The importance of natural gas and biogas in addressing the environmental requirements is increasingly being recognized. Gas mobility is the fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation sector due to existing infrastructure and available technology,” says Alfred Walberer, Vice President CNG Light-Duty Vehicles of Hexagon Purus. “We are proud to be a trusted partner of Volkswagen. Through this joint effort of increasing our production output for low-emission passenger car fuel tanks, we are contributing to the decarbonization of the transport sector.”
Since 2013, Hexagon Purus (formerly Hexagon xperion) has been a serial supplier to Volkswagen for the CNG car models Golf TGI and Audi A3 Sportsback g-tron. From 2019, Hexagon has started to supply lightweight composite cylinders to SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. These models are mono-fuel vehicles with a longer range and increased performance due to a new and improved engine.
The total investment is around EUR 6 million (approx. NOK 58 million) to expand and modernize its production facilities in Kassel, Germany. The new production line will start its operations in second half of 2019.
VW Touts CNG Benefits
One of the reasons for the increasing attractiveness of CNG mobility is its positive environmental balance. CNG vehicles are already making an effective contribution to reducing emissions in road traffic, and boast CO2, nitrogen oxide and particulate emission values well below those of gasoline and diesel engines.
As an alternative drive technology, CNG had recently been overshadowed by e-mobility. Yet even the EU Commission has recognized natural gas fuel as a building block for the energy transition on the road. The experts in Brussels want to increase the share of natural gas in the fuel mix in road traffic to ten percent by 2020 in order to make more progress toward European climate goals.