Unveiling its vision for compressed natural gas (CNG) at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in April 2014, AGL Managing Director Michael Fraser revealed that AGL would use its 176 years’ experience in energy to create a viable and competitive fuel offering for the transport industry with its AGL Smart CNG initiative.
“The sixth largest country by landmass, Australia’s road transport sector is central to our economy, getting food from farms to homes and connecting businesses to markets,”? Mr Fraser said.
“The transport sector is also the second most energy-intensive industry in Australia. A rising proportion of our road transport sector is also fuelled by foreign crude and fuel imports, increasing from 60 per cent in 2000 to over 90 per cent today.
“Diversifying our fuel mix and building an alternative fuels industry locally, is part of the solution to developing a more resilient economy.”?
The new public and on-site refuelling stations, which are suited for dedicated commercial trucks and vehicles, are planned to be located in key geographical areas, enabling fleets to refuel without altering their routes.
AGL told Gas Today that it is focusing on developing and building public refuelling stations across the east coast of Australia, with the construction of a public refuelling facility in Tullamarine, Victoria, currently in progress as well as development opportunities for public refuelling sites in Dandenong and other areas of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
AGL will initially build six public refuelling stations in the next two years. There is also a public site already operational in Moorebank, NSW.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step towards bolstering Australia’s alternative transport fuel capacity,”? Mr Fraser said at the event.
“It is a step which we hope will not only help Australian businesses become more competitive and productive, but also contribute to the nation’s longer term energy security.”?
A bright future for CNG
According to AGL General Manager of Business Customers and Power Development Scott Thomas, CNG is the next generation of fuel for trucks.
Mr Thomas said at the event that AGL aimed to establish AGL Smart CNG as a long-term, viable and widely available fuel for commercial customers.
“Australian businesses that are focused on cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency and reducing environmental footprints will benefit from wider availability of CNG,”? Mr Thomas said.
CNG is on the rise globally, with 120,000 natural gas vehicles already on the road in the United States.
By the end of this decade, it is forecast that 30 per cent of heavy trucks in the US will shift to natural gas (both CNG and LNG) as a transport fuel.
“In Australia, foreseeable growth in CNG refuelling infrastructure is contributing to an increase in investment from original equipment manufacturers in CNG-compatible vehicles,”? Mr Thomas said.
“Natural gas transport products provide local transport operators with improved operational benefits, lower operating costs, and a proven and low emission fuel supply.”?
AGL has been supplying CNG to bus fleets since the year 2000, refuelling over 1,200 buses in Brisbane and Sydney.
The buses consume over 1,700 TJ of natural gas annually, and AGL believes given the benefits that CNG provides to fleet operators, that uptake over the next ten years could be in excess of 100 PJ/a of natural gas.
AGL’s truck show exhibit at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show featured a CNG dispenser, which will be used at future public refuelling stations, as well as several CNG dedicated short-haul and rigid trucks.
AGL says it has already received inquiries from a number of leading Australian businesses for Alternative Fuel Strategy Workshops, and anticipates this will grow following the launch of AGL Smart CNG.