While the NGV vehicle market is growing in the world with 19 million users, France only represents a small portion of the world market with 13000 NGV vehicles, namely 0.2%. Presented as an alternative to oil, we notice in France a particular progression of NGV use in the category of heavy trucks. With its multiple advantages for the planet, NGV will impose itself as one of the essential elements of the energy transition in the future.
In step with the energy transition, NGV has two main advantages.
This gas is economical and environmental.
Indeed, essentially composed of more than 95% of methane, NGV considerably reduces the rate of pollutants:
Besides its eco-environmental aspect, its safety is also one of its advantages.
NGV vehicles are safe and are subjected to safety tests (pressure resistance) that meet European standards (ECE R110). Compulsorily equipped with two safety systems (rupture disc and thermal fuse), the regulations impose every 4 years a Detailed Tank Inspection Control that prescribes the replacement of the tanks every 20 years.
In response to the Energy Transition Act, the European Commission has ordered its Member States to deploy alternative fuel infrastructures by November 2016. With the purpose of reducing the cost of oil imports by 2.3 billion euros by 2030, the AFGNV has drawn up a plan to develop the network of stations.
As a result of this regulation, Europe is experiencing an increase in NGV stations, that is to say more than 4,000 refueling points and more than 55,000 vehicles, with Italy in the top position.
The average cost of a NGV bus or truck is 295,000€, which is 45,000€ more than a diesel vehicle. To this, we should add the cost of infrastructures (filling stations and depot facilities), which are essential for refueling and operating the vehicles.
Thus, many establishments have rallied to this environmental cause. Large groups such as TotalEnergies, a major gas player in the world, has deployed the opening of about 450 NGV stations worldwide, in Asia, Africa and Europe (in 2017 in France). The Group claims to have resolved to adopt a rate of 20 openings per year under the TotalEnergies and AS24 brands (the Group’s subsidiary in the distribution of fuels for transport professionals) with a target of opening 350 additional sites by 2022.
This is the same with Géodis, a private French public transport company which, after having agreed to acquire 200 NGV vehicles in June 2021, is now making official its new order for 120 additional vehicles.
Moreover, we can finally notice a clear increase of refueling points. According to the AFGNV, 252 refueling points have been created between 2018 and 2021 and 82 new points are expected by 2022 (Station du Grand Chalon, Le Havre, Annecy, Les Mauges…)
NGV already has a renewable alternative called BioGNV derived from the process of methanization of organic agricultural waste, agri-food companies or local communities. BioGNV is entirely renewable and can considerably limit pollution by 80%. In the meanwhile, new investments are increasing in the French transports, such as the green hydrogen train.
This new formula is evolving today, and has been injected into networks since 2012.