Green corridors: Argentina plans to boost natural gas in heavy transport
The Argentine government is seeking to update the cargo and passenger transport matrix through a wider adoption of CNG, for which “green corridors” are projected on the country’s main routes to guarantee the supply of truck and bus fleets. The Ministries of Transportation and Productive Development as well as the National Gas Regulatory Entity (Enargas) are already promoting the implementation of natural gas in several projects for public passenger transport and waste collection trucks powered by CNG and LNG in the country.
This transformation of the energy matrix that seeks to diversify the domain of fossil fuels in transportation is imposed with the premise of preserving the environment, reducing the costs of the country’s logistics, increasing added value to local industrial and technological production and even improving the trade balance.
In addition, the promotion of the use of natural gas in transportation is one of the alternatives for generating demand for the incremental gas of Vaca Muerta shale gas reserves, since it is estimated that the development of the new scheme would allow going from the current demand of almost 7 million to 23 million cubic meters per day.
In this sense, and besides adapting the necessary technical regulations, Enargas is “delimiting a CNG Green Corridor with the identification of refueling points, destined to supply heavy vehicles.” The development of corridors so far includes all the access highways to the city of Buenos Aires; the national routes 7, 9 and 12; the highways to La Plata and Mar del Plata, and Ezeiza-Cañuelas; the national highway route 14, and several national and provincial routes.
“The aim is to facilitate the safety of refueling and encourage the appropriation of these new technologies by taking advantage of the numerous CNG filling stations, which are the most extensive in comparison with other countries”, explained María Fernanda Martínez Linares, manager of Natural Gas for Vehicles at Enargas. In Argentina, there are about 2,200 CNG stations, expanded in 500 locations in 20 provinces, for a fleet of 1.8 million converted vehicles.
The work, which is carried out in dialogue with private entities such as the Argentine Chamber of Producers of Complete Automotive Gas Equipment (Capec) or the Chamber of CNG Dispensers, foresees the need for adjustments in the service stations for the refueling of trucks and buses. Moreover, the need arises to guarantee a maximum distance of 350 kilometers between each station for the autonomy of travel to all regions of the country, but at the same time integrated into the network of the so-called blue corridors, that is, of LNG refueling.
Martínez Linares also pointed out: “Not only are CNG and LNG much cheaper than other fuels, but their higher demand would allow us to think about a balance point of production costs that leverages investments in exploration and production in Vaca Muerta.”
“It would also make it possible to replace imports of liquid fuels, especially diesel, reduce transport subsidies if it focuses on the development of urban passenger buses, have reduced carbon dioxide emissions and accompany the development of an industrial network with a long history in the country,” she added.