The third international conference: NGV 2010.
Pre-eminent Czech and international specialists, company representatives, and members of the expert circles gathered in Prague for the third time to attend the NGV 2010 international conference, Prospects for the Development and Use of CNG in Transport, organised by the Czech Gas Association at the Dorint Hotel on 3 and 4 February. The Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic provides long-term support for CNG and methane as fuels and for new NGV technologies; the fact that the conference was held under its auspices is the Ministry’s recognition of the importance of this international event.
The continuously increasing movement of goods and people has turned some parts of Europe into real crossroads; levels of traffic, emissions and noise peak there, deteriorating the quality of the environment and producing irreversible impacts on nature and populations. The situation in the Central European region is no exception. The objective of the NGV 2010 conference was, therefore, to highlight these facts and help to enhance CNG in transport. Central Europe’s transport infrastructure offering a sufficient number of CNG refuelling stations would also support growth in the number of CNG vehicles and provide drivers with greater comfort, easy travel across the various countries, less expensive journeying, and the good feeling of contributing to environmental protection, said Miloš Kebrdle, CGA Secretary General, in his welcome address to the conference delegates, adding that the two previous conferences had convinced us of the constant need to devote attention to this topic.
The introductory session of the conference was dedicated to guests. Evžen Tošenovský,
Member of European Parliament and EP ITRE Committee Vice-Chairman, who had apologised for not arriving because of his duties, conveyed greetings to the delegates. In his letter he appreciated the extreme importance of the topic and emphasised that “CNG is one of the important fully-fledged and available alternatives to oil-based fuels. Moreover, this solution is a well-developed one in technological terms, and can be deployed in practical life very quickly. In simple terms, we can say that CNG has a huge potential that has to be exploited to the full. It is an economical, safe, environmentally friendly, and also highly powerful fuel.” Vice-Minister Aleš Kuták, who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment, noted inter alia the content of the 2006 Agreement and the Czech Government’s obligations under the Agreement, mentioning also the drafting of a bill on low-emission zones with restricted access for high-emission vehicles. Another guest speaker at the conference was NGVA Europe Chairman, Trevor Fletcher of the UK, who emphasised the importance of the European Union and the need for closer co-operation between all countries to promote NGV development in Europe, and also the environmental and energy benefits of dual fuel vehicles and the need for continued development of alternative fuel engines.
The first technical session focused on NGV projects and trends. Jeffrey Seisler, CEO, Clean Fuels Consulting, Belgium, reported on the situation in the world and NGV successes, opportunities, challenges and trends. Jiří Jedlička, Director of Centrum dopravního výzkumu, Brno, analysed the contribution of transport to environmental pollution. A representative of the General Partner of the conference, Václav Holovčák, Gas Investment, a.s. Vice-Chairman, presented the Bonett Outsourcing – An Effective Approach to a Fleet CNG Station project. Representing one of the Main Partners of the conference, Roger Conyers, Director Sales and Marketing Europe, IMW Industries, Ltd., Canada, followed and presented the company’s production range, its designs of compressor units, and its projects in Central Europe. The papers that followed described the situation in Poland (Krzysztof Kwasniewski, Professor, University of Science and Technology AGH Krakow), in Italy (Michele Ziosi, Director NGV Systems Italia and Senior Manager EA Fiat) and the programme for Central and Eastern Europe of Argentine-based company ASPRO (Claudio Spurkel, International Sales Manager, Delta Compresión S.R.L.).
The roundtable discussion focused on three key questions: What is the biggest obstacle that prevents a faster development of CNG and biomethane use in Central Europe? Is the EU doing enough to meet the indicative targets in 2010, and are these targets sufficient from the perspective of the current situation in the use of CNG in Europe? And does the EU have any legislative instruments that can be employed for lifting the ban on access for CNG vehicles to underground car parks designed for multiple vehicles, and what is the practice in other countries?
The second day offered a session on NGV Technology and Its Operation. Davor Matic of Croatia, who was the Vice-Chairman of IGU WOC 5, SG 5.3 NGV, reported on the committee’s activity and plans in the past triennium and about the study group’s forthcoming NGV activities for the 2009-2012 triennium. Eckart Baum, Pražská plynárenská a.s. Vice-Chairman, outlined successfully operating projects and the newly opened public CNG refuelling stations in Prague, and some other activities that Pražská plynárenská pursues to promote CNG in Prague. The successful project for CNG use in municipal vehicles operated by Pražské služby, a.s. confirms the considerable potential of CNG applications in urban agglomerations for municipal services. Zdeněk Prokopec, Strategic Development Manager at Motor Jikov Strojírenská, a.s., who represented this manufacturer, and Petr Suchoň, Vítkovice Cylinders, a.s., the exclusive representative for the sale and servicing of CNG refuelling stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and another 40 countries, presented home and company CNG refuelling stations in technical, safety, installation and business terms.
The second technical session, Experience of NGV Manufacturers and Operators, centred on the practical aspects and application of CNG elements in vehicles. Pavel Derkay, CEO, Dopravný podnik Bratislava a.s., Slovakia, shared with the delegates his valuable experience, acquired over many years, with CNG bus fleet operation at this public transport company. Car rental also offers innovative and promising CNG applications. Petr Kosmák, Head of Sales, SIXT Czech Republic, Speed Lease a.s., outlined his initial experience in this area. Filip Slaný of Worthington Cylinders a.s. described the manufacture of steel cylinders and their reliability and safe installation in vehicles.
The closing paper was dedicated to biogas, which is being increasingly regarded as a promising fuel. Christopher Maltin of the UK described his long-standing experience in this area and reported on the conclusions of the Madegascar consortium’s European project. A separate conference that followed our NGV 2010 event was dedicated to this EU project in more detail.
A new feature of this year’s conference was a self-standing exhibition of companies operating in NGV equipment and technologies; 12 companies participated: A.S.A., s.r.o., Bauer Kompressoren GmbH, Bonett Bohemia, a.s., Gascontrol společnost s r.o., NEAT, a.s., OPW, TEDOM, s.r.o., Tvaja CNG, s.r.o., UniCode Systems, s.r.o., Unodataz, s.r.o., Vítkovice Cylinders, a.s., and Worthington, a.s.
The conference was attended by 114 registered participants, of whom 38% from outside the Czech Republic; there were 17 speakers, of whom nine international (Argentine, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, and the UK), and 17 members of the press.
The participants’ responses have confirmed that the event was interesting and at a high level of expertise. Its programme was rewarding for the participants, and offered new insights, contacts and food for thought, all of which can be used in our work going forward.
The Czech Gas Association expresses its sincere thanks to the General Partner, Bonett Gas Investment, a.s., all Main Partners, IMW, Kraus Global and the E.ON and RWE groups, and all media partners (Czas na Gaz, the gvr, NGVA Europe, Madegascar, and the Plyn magazine) for their support and co-operation in the arrangements for this conference.
Written by: Pavel NOVAK, NGV Manager, Czech Gas Association