Use lo­cal gas plea for trucks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

THE Aus­tralian trans­port in­dus­try could be held to ran­som by over­seas oil pro­duc­ers if it fails to use more lo­cally sourced gas for fuel.

That is the view of many del­e­gates at the So­ci­ety of Au­to­mo­tive En­gi­neers Aus­trala­sia Gaseous Fu­els Technology Con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne re­cently.

SAE-A ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Max Chanter says: ‘‘By 2030, Aus­tralia could be im­port­ing up to 70 per cent of our crude oil and petroleum prod­ucts. As global de­mand for these re­sources grows, we may have less and less con­trol over both sup­ply con­sis­tency and price.

‘‘While gov­ern­ments may recog­nise these is­sues, there is no time for com­pla­cency. To main­tain our econ­omy and life­style, Aus­tralia must con­tinue to have fu­els avail­able at com­pet­i­tive prices.’’

Many speak­ers sup­ported com­pressed nat­u­ral gas GNG for shorter-haul trucks and vans and liq­uid nat­u­ral gas LNG for long-haul trucks.

There are min­i­mal dif­fer­ences be­tween the two gases, but LNG is bet­ter suited to larger trucks be­cause it can be stored more ef­fec­tively.

Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers have recog­nised the po­ten­tial of CNG and LNG in Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing Iveco, Mercedes, Isuzu and Ken­worth.

How­ever, Truck In­dus­try Coun­cil CEO Tony McMul­lan says it could take 20 years to make an in­dus­try-wide shift to CNG and LNG.

He says there is no tech­ni­cal is­sue with trucks run­ning on gas, but the gas in­dus­try faces a huge mar­ket­ing prob­lem to make the switch from diesel.

Wes­farm­ers EVOL LNG (an LNG re­tailer) East Coast busi­ness man­ager Simon Humphries says the pos­i­tives in­clude: Aus­tralia hav­ing plenty of its own LNG; it costs less than diesel; ser­vice in­ter­vals can be ex­tended; it’s safer in work­shops; and in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions is clean burn­ing and won’t con­tam­i­nate soils and wa­ter­ways.

He lists the neg­a­tives as: the need for unique equip­ment; the gas has lower en­ergy den­sity than diesel; there is a tare mass penalty (thanks to the fuel tanks); and the in­creased cost of ve­hi­cles.

JAMES STAN­FORD

Buy lo­cal: there is a push for more long-haul trucks to run on LNG.

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