Demand for NGV Continuously on the Rise; Number of Fuelling Stations Also Increases
- In the Czech Republic, natural gas is successful in both passenger and freight transport
- The first LNG trucks are in operation in the Czech Republic and additional companies are seriously considering this technology
In 2019, natural gas consumption in transport in the Czech Republic rose by more than 20% year-on-year to a record 91.3 million cubic metres. More than 25,000 CNG vehicles currently operate on Czech roads, and more than 200 fuelling stations already are available for them. Last year, liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks appeared in everyday operation for the very first time.
“Operating costs of CNG vehicles are approximately one Czech crown per kilometre. From Prague you can therefore reach, for example, a seacoast for one thousand crowns. At the same time, the acquisition cost is comparable with that of models with conventional powertrains. Adding the sufficient network of fuelling stations and much more environmentally friendly operation, it is no wonder that the demand for CNG is rising on the part of both companies and individual drivers,” said Lenka Kovačovská, Executive Director of the Czech Gas Association (CGA).
In 2019, 22 new public CNG fuelling stations were opened and more than 2,700 new vehicles were sold. The Czech market offers a broad range of more than 40 CNG models. Among them, Škoda is the most popular brand, followed by VW and Seat.
innogy Energo is currently the operator of the largest public CNG station network in the Czech Republic. Through its 63 stations, it delivered approximately 11,000 tonnes of CNG to end users in 2019. “After fully consolidating the CNGvitall network of fuelling stations within innogy last year, this year we are planning to put into operation another three to four CNG stations. We also want to focus more on customers interested in the delivery and servicing of CNG fuelling equipment and the offer of what are known as mobile fuelling stations,” said Zdeněk Kaplan, Chairman of Executive Directors of innogy Energo.
With its 40 CNG stations the operator of the second largest network in the Czech Republic, Bonett Gas Investment, a.s. is planning to invest up to CZK 250 million in the development of alternative fuel stations this year. “We specifically consider investments in biomethane. Our objective is to be selling at least 15% of renewable fuel by the end of 2020,” said Václav Holovčák, on the Board of Bonett Gas Investment, adding: “Besides opening 10 to 15 new CNG stations we also want to put into operation some five LNG stations in the Czech Republic.”
E.ON wants to open three new CNG stations this year. “We are planning to invest approximately CZK 23 million in the development of infrastructure this year and we also envisage additional rollout in 2021, when we will have in excess of 30 CNG stations,” clarified Martina Slavíková, spokesperson for E.ON, adding: “Last year we also opened one fuelling station in Prague. Our customers can therefore already take CNG also in the country’s capital without any problems.”
Last year, the first LNG fuelling station was put into full operation and the first five LNG trucks were deployed. “LNG development in the Czech Republic is good news for all people who live in larger municipalities and near the main routes of the road network. This is where freight transport significantly affects air quality. But LNG vehicles do not produce basically any harmful emissions of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides or particulates compared with the conventional diesel engines! In the segment of heavy duty road haulage, there is currently no other accessible fuel achieving the required combination of high performance and green operation,” added Lenka Kovačovská.
GasNet, which operates a gas distribution system in the Czech Republic and is testing LNG equipment, has also confirmed increased interest in liquefied natural gas. “We already today know of dozens of companies in the Czech Republic which are seriously considering acquiring LNG vehicles. As the infrastructure of LNG stations develops we therefore expect a surge in the number of these vehicles also in the fleets operated by Czech carriers. The reason is that they are experiencing increasing pressure for ensuring greener transport from their contract awarding customers,” said Filip Dostál, head of Business Development at GasNet, noting that the development of LNG technology in the Czech Republic could depend, to a considerable extent, on introducing support for infrastructure rollout and LNG vehicle acquisition similarly as in western European countries.
Compressed natural gas is suitable for passenger transport, city vans, buses, and municipal service vehicles. CNG features extremely low values of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), i.e. substances with the worst impact on human health, which are produced by conventional vehicles. CNG vehicles are thus fully comparable with electric vehicles. The half cost of operation is also an added value of CNG vehicles compared with diesel or petrol automobiles.
Liquefied natural gas is mainly suitable for heavy-duty freight transport. LNG vehicles can cover a range of more than 1,000 km and their fuel costs are down by as much as 20%. Compared with diesel, carbon oxide emissions are lower by 15%, sulphur oxide emissions are lower by as much as 100%, nitrogen oxide emissions are almost 90% lower and emissions of particulates are 99% lower. LNG vehicles also have engines by up to 9 dB quieter than diesel vehicles. Thanks to this, they can have better access to city centres where vehicle access may be restricted due to noise and emission standards. They are therefore also suitable for goods unloading during night time.
Source: CGA Press Release
Date: 10 February 2020