8th annual conference „Prospects for the development and use of CNG/LNG in transport“
The Czech Gas Association has held the already 8th year of the international annual conference „Prospects for the development and use of CNG/LNG in transport“ under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment. This specialized conference is well known in a wide public not only for being a traditional meeting of NGV experts, specialists, users as well as for all of those who are just interested in natural gas as an eco-friendly, safe and cheap fuel used in in transport, but it´s also a great opportunity to mention and remind of all activities held during the last year as well as the results connected with meeting the objectives that were set. In this conference, there are further set the objectives for the coming period. A part of this conference is an accompanying exhibition of NGV technologies and technique. It´s also a suitable place for several negotiations and dates. And just this is what we have experienced this year as well.
Mr. Ing. Jan Ruml, Executive Director of the Czech Gas Association, had the introductory word. He welcomed the guests and also introduced those who had lectures. In his own contribution, Mr. Ruml mentioned the statistical data of CNG development in 2014 in the Czech Republic. He also informed about the rising number of CNG re-fuelling stations in the Czech Republic in 2014. He further accented the contributions of NG used in transport, particularly in those regions, where a long-term serious air pollutions are in evidence. He further mentioned the discordance of the Czech legislature in defining the national goal to reduce the exposition of the immission limit for the suspended PM2,5 particles (already advised by the European Commission).
The Deputy ministr of Environment, Mr. Jan Landa, first excused Mr. Brabec (Czech ministr of Environment) for not being able to personally participate in the conference. He appreciated the content and extent of the National Action Plan - Clean Mobility which has been developed and elaborated in a close cooperation of several working groups as well as in cooperation with the Ministries of Transport, Industry and Trade and Environment. He accented, that it is a document of a strategical importance for all the society. From the point of view of the Ministry of Environment, the Clean Mobility is a strategic goal to be supported in the Czech Republic.
Mr. Lennart Pilskog, the General Secretary of the NGVA Europe, accented the continously increasing importance of the natural gas and its use in all kinds of transport on roads, railways and a ship transport. He noted, that the European Union puts an essential accent on LNG and the construction of the Trans-European network of LNG filling stations, which shall be the corner stone for its wider use in the freight transport. A necessary part of this Trans-European transport plan is a sufficient number of LNG terminals situated in ports, as well as an implementation of the EP´s and Council´s documents (White Book 2011, TEN-T and Directive 2014/94/EU) on deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure into national legislatures.
Mr. Martin Jahn, the President of the Czech Automobile Industry Association, appreciated in his appearance the results achieved in CZ in 2014. Despite those results, Mr. Jahn still sees the development of the CNG branch slower than it could eventually be (in spite of all ecological and economical advantages of this fuel accented). He also noted, that the NGV technology developments are at a high level at this moment and also reminded of the fact, that there are no more limits in this branch. There was also accented the rising offer of CNG-fuelled cars in the CZ market. In this connection, he assured, that the company Skoda Auto is really interested to further develop the CNG segment.
Mr. Lubomir Blasko, the Director of SPP CNG, shared the Slovakian experience in use of CNG/LNG in transport. At this moment, there are registered about 1500 CNG-fuelled cars in Slovakia. In this country, there are now 10 CNG public filling stations in operation. In 2014, there was sold a total volume of 7,3 mil. kg CNG in Slovakia. Nowadays, a more dynamic development of CNG branch in Slovakia is hindered by a quite high taxation, which is higher than in CZ. In Slovakia, there is only 1 firm (SPP) constructing the CNG re-fuelling stations, which is a situation quite different from that in CZ, where several firms participate in construction of these stations. The main goal of the company SPP CNG (until 2020) is to double the volume of CNG sales (compared to 2015).
A separate block of lectures dealt with the National Action Plan - Clean Mobility. Mr. Eduard Muricky, the Deputy minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, mentioned, that the National Action Plan - Clean Mobility is a good oportunity for the Czech industry where all subjects involved can eventually gain some profit. The submitting the National Action Plan „Clean Mobility“ into the programme of the Czech government can be expected approx. in the half of the year 2015. Is expected that the material will also have some impact on the state budget. The main goal of the National Action Plan - Clean Mobility is to persuade the Czech government, that the proposed measures shall definitely be favorable. Mr. Eduard Muricky further noted, that also the Czech Fire Service representatives (after a lot of negotiations) now already feel more inclined to parking the CNG-fuelled cars in garages and are willling to show a better will on this particular matter. In connection with the LNG development in Europe, Mr. Muricky also stated (in conclusion of his paper), that it will be necessary to implement the LNG theme into the amending of the fuels´ act (just being prepared). Mr. Jiri Simek, a vicechairman of the E.ON Energie Board, stated, that one of the next goals of the National Action Plan - Clean Mobility is its interconnection with other strategical documents (ASEK, SPŽP, DSS) as well as supporting the exploitting the new subvention programmes. He further noted, that this material doesn´t only focus on natural gas (incl. biomethane), but also on electro-mobility and LPG. In the part of his paper about the natural gas in transport, Mr. Simek described 3 scenarios of a possible NG utilization in transport (in the time-horizon until 2035) that particularly differ each other with respect to the excise tax (to keep it at the current level vs. how much actually?) and state subventions provided. Mr. Radim Sram from the Institute of the Experimental Medicine of the Czech Academy of Science spoke in his paper about the bad impact of polluted air (especially from transport) to the health state of the Czech population. Mr. Sram noted, that although we could note in the period of 2010 – 2013 a certain decrease of dust particles (PM10, partly PM2,5 as well), there is still very alarming the increase of MP1 and benzopyrene concentrations, that might potentially have a bad impact on pregnancy, occurence of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (type 2) in grown-ups. As the tests obviously showed, the increased concentrations shall negatively affect not only the current, but also the future generations.
The 2nd block of lectures (/papers) dealt with NGV developments, infrastructure and the possibilities at the Czech market. Mrs. Marketa Vesela Schauhuberova (RWE Energo) dealt with the CNG theme from the point of view of gas companies. She focused on the current situation in CZ, the tasks to be soon solved (garage parking of CNG-fuelled cars, low-emission zones) or the tasks that still have to be opened (update the so called Voluntary agreement, prolongation the reduced excise tax). Mr. Jan Kurel (company Chart D+S Europe) described current and expected developments in LNG branch. He noted, that it is really important to complete the respective ISO standards (just in elaboration) and accented the increasing interest in LNG in Central and Eastern Europe. He also mentioned the project of LNG city buses in Poland (the cities of Olsztyn and Warsaw) and informed about the intention to build the very first LNG filling station in CZ (in 2016). Mr. Ondrej Vsianski from company SKODA AUTO mentioned the successful putting the cars CitiGo G-TEC (234 registrations in 2014) and especially Octavie G-TEC (1156 registrations since June 2014) into the Czech market. As compared with 2013, the number of CNG motor cars registrations increased three times in 2014. The company Škoda Auto intends to reach (in the CNG branch) at least 10% sales of the Octavia model (with G-TEC motorization). In the model „CitiGo G-TEC“, Škoda Auto wants to further keep the the constant trend and overpass the 1% share within the newly registered motor cars. Škoda Auto further focuses on providing the legislative support, intends to further advance in its education activities (in the respective market) and also wants to attract the new target groups (retail, state sector). Mr. Miroslav Jurka (company CNH Industrial) introduced the CNG-fuelled IVECO vehicles. In his paper, Mr. Jurka particularly spoke about the multipurpose tractor „Stralis LNG“. Another segment, where LNG can be utilized, could be the agricultural technique. In his presentation, Mr. Vaclav Tomášek (company MOMENT Zlín) introduced the tractor „Zetor Z 16145“ with an engine rebuilt to a CNG one-inch engine with the output of 95 kW (at 2000 r.p.m.). The tested prototype gives some hope, that the investment return could only be 1,5 year. Another stage of this project is obtaining the respective homologation (allowing the operation of this tractor in its standard transport).
The third block of lectures aimed at experience by users of CNG-fuelled cars. Mr. Jan Kubasek, the chief of the transport department in the state-run enterprise Ceska posta informed about his three years experience with CNG cars. The main reason for buying the CNG cars by the company Ceska posta was saving the operation costs. The CNG fleet in Ceska posta contains 1028 cars now. In 2014, Ceska posta bought 300 new CNG-fuelled delivery vans (model „pick-up“) and 30 CNG-fuelled motor cars. The CNG-fuelled cars have met the expectations of Ceska posta. In the economics of this state-run enterprise, there can now be noted positive results with respect to saving the fuels as well as costs for it. The savings in fuel costs (in 2014) make 40% in the N1 category and 37,5% in the N2 category. Another interesting lecture was held by Mr. Rodan Broskevic, the director of the company Vítkovice Doprava, who spoke about their experience with operation of CNG-fuelled locomotives in the VMG holding. This company has been transforming the regular locomotives to the CNG-fuelled ones for several years already. A successful project is the locomotive 703.8, the very first rebuilt CNG-fuelled locomotive in the Czech Republic utilized for shunt in factory sidings (with a smaller volume of wagons to shunt). In 2010, this particular project was awarded the price „The Czech transportation construction of the year“. Among other successful rebuildings, there can particularly be mentioned the locomotives 714.8 (single-engined loc.) and 714 (twin-engine loc.) destined for a more demanding shunt and conducting the light trains. The km range of the CNG-fuelled locomotive first used in a CZ railway-line between the cities of Opava and Hlucin makes 1500 km (per 1 filling) and its operation is by approx. 30% cheaper than in a similar oil-fuelled locomotive. Mr. Jaroslav Kepka (from the Ministry of Environment), Mr. Jiri Valnicek, director of the transport company Brno and Mr. Jiri Randak, deputy director of the transport company Usti nad Labem informed about their experience with utilization the subventions for the Czech transport companies to support the alternative transportation from EU funds. The allocations for projects approved the purchase of new CNG-fuelled buses for urban city transport and construction of CNG filling station realized in the Moravian-Selesian region, Usti region and district City of Brno. Eight applications in total of 1,4 billions CZK from EU were approved for a purchase of 303 CNG-fuelled buses and construction of 4 CNG fillings stations. The total investment is more than 2,4 billions CZK.
Altogether, 140 registered participants attended the 8th annual NGV conference, whereas 12% of them were the foreign visitors. We could welcome 14 exhibitors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Poland and Russia. A very interesting and unique exhibit was the portable lamp (made in 1906) rebuilt from original town gas to natural gas (CNG), which was introduced by the Club of gas history from the city of Ostrava. The Russian Agromansholding introduced (in its printed material) the own construction of the CNG-fuelled tractor with an engine in 4 power classes from 22 kW (30 HP) up to 60,5 kW (85 HP).
The Czech Gas Association would like to thank all lecturers for the coooperation on preparing and programme of the conference. Big thanks also goes to all exhibitors and conference participants who showed a big interest in CNG/LNG in transport and thus contributed to its popularization.