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22 October 2021

Green industry: LNG-trucks offer new solutions for heavy loads and long distances

For a rapid decarbonization of the mobility sector and to reach the targets of the European Green Deal, the use of all available and clearly meaningful technologies must be enabled. LNG, especially in its renewable form, bioLNG, is the necessary long-term zero-GHG solution for heavy loads and long distances.

Natural gas in general is a cleaner alternative to diesel, which is available today and with RNG [renewable natural gas] the drive can even reach carbon neutrality. In the case of the use of sustainably produced methane, for example produced out of straw or manure, even negative GHG values can be achieved on the WtT-side (Well-to-Tank) up to -533gCO2e/MJ depending on the feedstock used. This makes it much more than just a bridging technology.

As a near-term strategy LNG could decrease heavy-duty trucks´ current diesel consumption and lower CO2 emissions effectively by 2050. The technology and cost-effectiveness of LNG engines for heavy-duty trucks have been continually improving, with the marginal cost of LNG-powered trucks declining compared to the cost of diesel trucks.

While the purchase price of an LNG truck is higher by about 22 percent, however, the running cost is about 40 percent lower which reduces overall costs of ownership of an LNG truck compared to a diesel truck by 32 percent. On top of that LNG is quieter and cleaner with an emission factor 25 percent lower than diesel, making it a greener option for heavy transport in urban areas as well.

The use of CO2-neutral fuels will be necessary because purely electric trucks today are not suitable for long-distance travel due to their short ranges and the insufficient charging network. Meanwhile the number of gas stations offering LNG is increasing and therefore offering a reliable distribution network for short and long transport routes alike.

2020 showed the largest increase in truck sales yet: there has been a huge addition of 6.802 new CNG and LNG trucks in Europe. With 99% of all sold alternatively powered trucks running on natural gas. This indicates that the logistic operators see a lot of potential in this technology that combines high engine efficiency and performance, widespread infrastructure and low total cost of ownership, but also great environmental benefits.

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