AGL accelerates CNG refuelling station roll-out

Alternative fuels company to have string of CNG outlets on major eastern-state transport routes

AGL accelerates CNG refuelling station roll-out
AGL CEO Michael Fraser and Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources and Small Business Russell Northe.

AGL Energy will roll out compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling stations across eastern Australia.

AGL Managing Director Michael Fraser revealed at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show (ITTES) in Melbourne that AGL aims to create a viable and competitive fuel offering for the transport industry.

"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," Fraser says.

"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."

At a time when Shell’s transport gas network plans have been shelved, long-term fuel security is being questioned and BP aims to close its Brisbane refinery, AGL sees the move as bolstering the nation’s alternative transport fuel capacity. 

AGL says it has already received enquiries from a number of leading Australian businesses for alternative fuel strategy workshops, and anticipates that this will grow.

Starting in Melbourne this year, the new public and on-site refuelling stations, suited for commercial trucks and vehicles, are to be located in key geographical areas, "enabling fleets to refuel without altering their routes", AGL says.

According to AGL’s General Manager of Business Customers and Power Development, Scott Thomas, CNG is the next generation of fuel for trucks.

AGL aims to establish its Smart CNG product 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," General Manager of Business Customers and Power Development Scott Thomas says.

AGL points out that CNG is on the rise globally with 120,000 natural gas vehicles (NGVs) already on the road in the US. 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 (OEMs) in CNG-compatible vehicles," Thomas says.

"Natural gas transport products provide local transport operators with improved operational benefits, lower operating costs, and a proven and low emission fuel supply. "

Minister for Energy and Resources and Small Business Russell Northe backs the initiative. 

"It is promising to see industry evolving with a changing economy and environment where efficiency and innovation are integral to the sustainability of the transport sector, both for large industry players such as AGL and small businesses that will benefit from more cost effective methods of transport," Northe says. 

Also at the Smart CNG launch was retired Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn, who recently completed a NRMA-commissioned report on Australia’s liquid fuel security.

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