First introduced in the Netherlands in 2010, liquefied natural gas (LNG) has now passed the experimental phase and is fast gaining popularity across the Low Countries. Scania is helping the fuel’s spread with measures including introducing an LNG Euro 6 engine.
On the outside it looks like any other attractive Scania truck, beautifully styled and shiny. But behind its grille this P 280 has a secret: it’s powered by a Scania Euro 6 engine that runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Unveiled recently at the RAI truck fair in Amsterdam, the P 280 is now owned by Tielbeke Logistics, a major Dutch fleet owner. The company has played a key role in helping both LNG and Scania’s LNG solutions gain a foothold in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands and Belgium are true LNG pioneers within Europe. They boast a combined total of 19 LNG filling stations, with the number growing fast. Compare that to Germany, which is yet to build its first facility.
Demand for alternative fuels
So, what’s the secret behind the successful roll-out of LNG in the Low Countries?
Marius Kwaak, Fleet Sales Manager at Scania Nederland, says while LNG is a promising technology, governments have been reluctant to promote the fuel through subsidies and legislation. “The real boost for LNG has come from four key players in the market,” he says. “These include transport companies interested in a cultivating a green image, the oil companies building LNG infrastructure, and Scania, which is the leading provider of Euro 6-approved LNG trucks. The fourth player is the transport buyers, who are particularly attracted to LNG’s cleanliness and quietness. These four parties are now constantly encouraging each other to make LNG a logical alternative to traditional fuels.”
One fleet operator that has proved quick to embrace the new technology is Tielbeke Logistics, based in the Dutch town of Lemelerveld. Tielbeke is a large transport firm with about 200 trucks in its fleet and was founded in 1958. The Scania facility in nearby Zwolle was established only a few years later, and the two companies have grown together ever since. Scania even opened a workshop almost next door to Tielbeke’s base.
When Scania needed field testers for its first LNG trucks in 2013, Tielbeke was eager to take part. Over the course of a year, Tielbeke tested two LNG prototypes and gained invaluable experience.
“LNG is here to stay”
Richard Tielbeke, Fleet Manager at Tielbeke, says: “Obviously there were some teething troubles to fix, but that is what you expect with any field test. Nonetheless, we had great confidence in the concept, so we became Scania’s LNG launch customer in March 2015. So far, the trucks have gloriously lived up to expectations. They perform just as well as our diesel trucks.”
Tielbeke is confident that LNG is here to stay, with the technology quickly becoming a serious new player in the mobility market.
“Recently the rules for noise limits in inner cities have been tightened,” Tielbeke says. “Only LNG trucks can effectively comply, so this has become a major selling point. It allows transport companies far more flexible distribution schedules, as they no longer need to stick to strict delivery times.”
Read more about Scania’s LNG trucks here: Certified for quiet deliveries.