Fordonsgas: Sustainably fuelling Sweden’s heavy-duty vehicles for cleaner transport
In Sweden, trucks running on biomethane are much more common than in the rest of Europe. The Swedish Natural Gas distribution network is not as developed and extended as in other European countries; instead, they have historically focused on developing Biogas production plants for household use and upgrading plants to produce high quality Biomethane for fuelling transport.
The Scandinavian country has a highly environmentally-conscious population and government, a major reason for this historical focus on biogas as a feasible sustainable alternative to fossil-fuels. In fact, companies like FordonsGas have distributed Compressed and Liquified BioMethane (LBM) and Natural Gas (LNG) to fulfil the needs of their customers since 1998, hence bringing their expertise in LBM quality, production, infrastructure and testing to the COLHD consortium. Their advanced experience will help identify the regulatory and standardisation needs for a harmonised European BioMethane market.
Truck drivers refilling at FordonsGas stations need to perform basic training to be able to safely operate LNG filling stations. After a basic course of 1 hour, these operations become easy, entailing no major problems in their execution. The only disadvantage compared to refuelling diesel is, historically, waiting times have usually been longer, and two or three fuelling cycles may be needed when the tank temperature has risen, and the gas has warmed up. However, this will not be an issue with the new stations to be built. In turn, this causes the gas to evaporate and increases the pressure inside the vehicle storage tank. For this reason, it is first required to empty the evaporated gas, which is at higher pressures than the liquified gas in the filling station, prior to being able to refill the tank – hence stretching on the entire process.
After 8 years of operating LNG stations in Sweden, new trucks from Volvo, Scania and IVECO will be the start of a real market development. In a country with a long-standing tradition of using LNG/LBM as fuel for transportation, users are used to dealing with cryogenic systems and liquified gas supply. Contrary to what it may seem, liquified gas refiling stations have simple systems and the technologies have been in use for many years, so operations are under control. One of the main among the few existing challenges on current stations is the boil-off pressure of the gas collected from all the trucks inside the filling station tank, an unavoidable condition inherent to the nature of cryogenic storage systems. This is only a problem if there are very few trucks coming to the station. To deal with the re-gasified methane or natural gas, the stations are equipped with pumps and compressors that remove the gas and re-compress it, to be supplied as Compressed Natural Gas or BioMethane (CNG/CBM) for light-duty and passenger vehicles. The new stations will have LIN coil and therefore this will not be an issue anymore.
The knowledge and expertise of FordonsGas in dealing with the challenges of LBM filling stations is helping the teams involved in the technical developments of COLHD to overcome these challenges.
In the COLHD project, FordonsGas will also apply its long experience with the production, distribution and commercialisation of BioMethane to help identify the most promising and viable fuel mixtures in terms of GHG reduction potential and the European production and supply capacity, as well as in performing an infrastructure and logistics assessment considering the scalability needs for a future large-scale demand of bio-sourced fuels in Europe.