“NGVs are the real alternative with economic and ecological benefits”

“NGVs are the real alternative with economic and ecological benefits”

In late July, NGVJournal interviewed José Ramón Freire, Director of Mobility Solutions of Gas Natural Fenosa and President of GASNAM. The manager gave us his views on the current scenario of NGVs in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as prospects for the industry to continue expanding. In this regard, he contributed his professional opinion on how to accelerate the adoption of this fuel in all transport sectors.

He also shared his approach and experience on projects Gas Natural Fenosa led and is currently carrying out to promote the use of CNG and LNG in land and maritime mobility, as well as to boost infrastructure development initiatives abroad.

Public transport in many Spanish cities has a robust fleet of CNG buses, while there is also a large fleet of CNG or LNG trucks. But how does Gas Natural Fenosa forecast a more intensive use of natural gas in private cars?

The natural gas allows to diversify traditional fuels and is the real alternative that provides economic and environmental advantages over these fuels. It also has another advantage: it is applicable to all segments of transport, from cars to trucks, also including maritime and rail transport.

However, at present, the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel is relatively small and its main use is mainly focused on heavy goods vehicles, buses and garbage collection trucks. Half of the fleet of buses in Madrid and Barcelona moves with natural gas, although most citizens of these cities do not know that the city bus that takes daily is powered by natural gas.

What is needed to popularize the adoption of CNG in the common user?

While natural gas is fully known at a domestic and industrial level, it is not popular in its vehicle use. To achieve a more intensive use of natural gas in private vehicles, it is necessary that each agent of the value chain of natural gas promotes its advantages and makes public his own experiences and savings compared to gasoline, diesel or LPG.

The Administration should continue to support and facilitate the creation of a network of CNG stations that supply all the national and European territory by supporting their construction. It is also important to grant aid for the purchase of NGVs or converted vehicles to encourage the market and maintain fiscal support, and give signals that it is so in an acceptable time period or until a minimum of penetration. At the local level there should be measures to encourage its use, such as implementing restrictions on diesel vehicles in urban areas in favor of cleaner alternative technologies such as natural gas.

Businesses providing infrastructure should contribute to the development of the public access station network that allow refueling of NGVs satisfactorily for all users and ensure the supply of fuel at such a price that will guarantee the promised savings, despite it involves high return periods and low rates of return in the first stations.

Car manufacturers must focus on CNG models that meet user demand, both in range and performance, developing high-performance engines to ensure savings compared to other alternative fuels. We must encourage manufacturers to mass-produce and market that product lineup. Users should also bet on this fuel, and promote and disseminate their own experiences and savings achieved.

What are the projects in which the company participates to encourage the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel?

The energy sector is facing deep changes and environmental challenges, which are crucial to society. Gas Natural Fenosa firmly believes that the development of LNG in shipping contribute decisively to the transformation of the sector and facilitate decarbonization goal outlined by society. In this respect our Group is developing logistics solutions to ensure the supply of LNG bunkering, always with a criterion of energy and economic efficiency, using the various current technological solutions on the market: terminal-to-ship, ship-to-ship, or truck-to-ship. Therefore, we are involved in various projects of the European Commission to promote natural gas both as maritime and land fuel.

We participate in the CORE LNGas Hive project, which aims to develop an integrated, safe and efficient logistics chain for the supply of LNG as marine fuel in the Iberian Peninsula. Within the project, Gas Natural Fenosa participates in converting to natural gas two Straddle Carriers of the Port of Barcelona, currently operating with diesel.

We are about to finalize the CleanPort project, implementing a natural gas engine in the Abel Matutes ferry that supplies electricity to the boat when it is moored or in the vicinity of the port, it will be the first Spanish regular route ferry with an auxiliary natural gas engine. In the Spanish area, we have agreements with the ports of Barcelona, Vigo, A Coruña, Celeiro and El Ferrol, with which we carry out actions to promote energy efficiency and the rational use of energy in both the maritime and fisheries mobility as in land mobility within their areas.


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