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Blue Corridor 'Hansa' NGV Rally 2013 showcases benefits of natural gas in European transport
středa, 30. října 2013
The Blue Corridor NGV Rally 2013, held from 3-19 October, highlighted the virtues of the transportation fuel of the future: natural gas. For this purpose, gas-powered trucks, light-weight vehicles and buses travelled for 16 days through 9 European countries, following the old Hansa trade route. Blue Corridor sponsors Gazprom and E.ON drove the natural gas vehicles (NGVs) from St. Petersburg, Russia to Narva, Estonia with stops in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
Beside the motorcade of clean, low-cost vehicles the rally also featured valuable roundtable discussions, in which local NGV market players, politicians, experts, business representatives, sponsors and other stakeholders discussed the benefits and market prospects for the use of natural gas as fuel on the road and in maritime transport. Moreover, the events provided unique opportunities to inspect innovative NGVs on display.
Opening event in St. Petersburg launches event series
On 3 October, the Blue Corridor Rally kicked off with a launch ceremony at a Gazprom Neft multi-fuel filling station in St. Petersburg, Russia. Surrounded by regional authorities, representatives from Gazprom Export, E.ON and Gazprom Gazomotornoe Toplivo, as well as guests from the energy and automotive sectors, Eugene Pronin, CEO of the National Gas Vehicles Association of Russia (NGVRUS) and senior specialist for liquefied gas exports at Gazprom Export, told audiences that natural gas in the transportation sector “is a relevant topic for the entire world for the simple reason that transport emissions do not know national borders.”
Rally stop in Hamburg emphasises benefits of LNG shipping
As the 15 vehicles of different types on display outside the Hamburg roundtable showed, Germans have recognised the benefits of LNG and CNG in transport, and so auto manufacturers have responded to the resulting demand. Germany is a leader in the NGV market, with more than 920 fueling stations and more than 100,000 NGVs in use. The rally stop in Hamburg was supported by NGVA Europe and the Natural & bio Gas association had invited Antonio Tricas, European Commission (DG MOVE), as keynote speaker for the event. Tricas informed the audience about the Clean Power for Transport package, which aims to facilitate the development of a single market for alternative fuels for transport in Europe, including minimum binding targets for CNG and LNG road filling stations and LNG bunkering for shipping.
Furthermore, Dr. Markus Baum with Daimler Trucks, Manfred Kuchlmayr of Iveco, Nadege Leclerq from Westport and Dr. Stefan Schmerbeck of Volkswagen told audiences of their companies’ many plans to increase and improve their NGV offerings. This is because, as Timo Vehrs, head of Business Development at Gazprom Germania, said, companies and consumers alike are coming to understand that “natural gas in transport is ready for daily use.” Vehrs predicted that as personal mobility, “one of the mega trends of the 21st century,” expands, so will NGV use, because natural gas is easily available and cars running on it are technically mature and offer a variety of speeds, models and engine classes.
The conversation focused on commercial use of NGVs and a new, innovative use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in transport: shipping. The discussion of LNG in shipping – led by Igor Maynitskiy, Gazprom Export; Jan Tellkamp, DNV GL; Dr. Richard Schroder, Bomin Linde; Michael Kraack, Marine Service and Werner Gliem, Logistik-Initiative Hambug – was particularly relevant in the port city of Hamburg, where 30% of pollution from shipping is from diesel. This is one area of the NGV market where Germany falls behind; Tellkamp noted that Norway, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all already use LNG bunkering.
Considering the results
Altogether the Blue Corridor NGV Rally 2013 featured 25 new passenger cars, commercial vehicles, municipal trucks, long haul tractors and buses from a broad range of European manufacturers: BMV, Fiat, Ford, Iveco, KAMAZ, LIAZ, MAN, Mercedes-Daimler, Opel, Scania, Volkswagen and Volvo. After the rally came to a close and reached its final destination St. Petersburg, Russia, the organisers summed up the encouraging results. “The Blue Corridor experience shows that it is already possible today to drive from the Ural to Paris and from Baltics to the Adriatic and Black Seas with NGVs”, said Andre Schuman, head of Business Development at E.ON, taking stock of the rally. “We thank all actors in the Blue Corridor Rally 2013: Hansa; everything went perfectly well,” applauded Eugene Pronin at the end of the rally.
To demonstrate the benefits of the use of natural gas as fuel, Gazprom, E.ON, together with around 20 local gas companies, as well as vehicle manufacturers, organise the Blue Corridor Rally. Held for the first time in 2008 and supported by the International Gas Union (IGU), the 2013 edition gathers NGVs for a tour around the Baltic Sea. Now on its seventh tour, Blue Corridor was developed to encourage the establishment of the natural gas fueling infrastructure needed to create a natural gas highway across Europe. This infrastructure – especially the construction of a sufficient number of natural gas filling stations and the transport of the fuel to them – will empower more drivers and fleet owners to purchase NGVs by assuring that they can drive them anywhere.
Source: Blue Corridor, NGVA Europe
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