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Natural-gas sees pipe-line-to-truck sales

Linde-BOC will roll out LNG infrastructure for truck refueling across the country under a five-year retail plan

By Samantha Freestone

Leading gas provider Linde-BOC will roll out liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure for truck refueling across the country under a five-year retail plan.

After successfully creating a business model out of Tasmania with a group of seven trucking operators from the forestry sector, Linde-BOC has revealed a plan to replicate the business model in several states.

Linde-BOC LNG General Manager Alex Dronoff tells ATN “that is our intention”, with the project to be rolled out by late 2009.

LNG Refuellers – the consortium of operators working with Linde-BOC — secured a $5.05 million grant from the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement Industry Development program after starting talks with the gas supplier in 2005.

Chairman of LNG Refuellers Ken Padgett says the consortium represents a new refueling company that will own and operate a network of six commercial LNG stations across the state.

“They [Linde-BOC] will manage the fuel logistics needs of most Tasmanian fleets on the major freight routes,” Padgett says.

“With rising fuel prices and the long-term security of oil supplies under question, we began looking for alternate fuels.

“Our investigation led us to the conclusion that natural gas provides an effective overall solution from a commercial, economic and environmental perspective.”

Dronoff says a single heavy vehicle unit needs to be running around 150,000km per annum for the investment to be sustainable.

“If you use the Westport Cummins HPDI engine there are greenhouse tailpipe gas reductions of up to 20 percent and that has been well documented and supported by the Australian Greenhouse Office,” he says.

BOC, part of the Linde Group, describes itself as the market innovators in the design, construction and operation of Micro-LNG plants for the domestic transport market.

BOC historically supplied compressed and bulk gases, chemicals and equipment throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, and was the first to offer LNG at its Dandenong plant in Victoria 30 years ago.

Dronoff says the new project signals a departure from Linde-BOC’s usual way of business.

The LNG plant will have the capacity to produce 50 tonnes of LNG a day, the equivalent of 70,000 litres of conventional diesel.

“We look forward to working with LNG Refuellers to deliver clean and efficient fuel for the Tasmanian heavy transport sector,” Dronoff says.

“With this Micro-LNG plant technology we hope to secure plants in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. That is our intention,” he says.

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