We talk with Fausto Maranca, president of the Argentina Chamber of Compressed Natural Gas (CAGNC), who highlighted the great momentum within the sector at present and explained the ambitious plans that the institution has to develop the use of gaseous fuel in local heavy transport.
Maranca, head of one of the pioneers of activity in the country, GNC Galileo SA, was pleased to begin a new term as head of the entity that brings together the most representative CNG industrial players in Argentina, after two years in which the conversion of CNG vehicles has increased dramatically, ended 2011 with more than 140.000 new transformations.
The executive explained that since its previous mandate, the Chamber is undertaking several initiatives to implement CNG as fuel for heavy transport vehicles such as trucks, buses and vans. Regarding the latter, Maranca said utility vehicles are a interesting and insufficiently explored business segment for gas vehicles industry in Argentina, since they had turned to diesel due to the economy provided timely for this fuel, which is why CNG had lost an important business segment which adversely affected sales volumes of fueling stations for natural gas. However, according to the president of the CAGNC, circumstances have been changing and now the auto manufacturers are producing utility vehicles suitable for gasoline engines that are easier to convert to natural gas, while different companies associated to the Argentina Chamber of CNG have the technology needed to transform this type of vehicle.
The incursion of natural gas vehicles in the utility segment is of particular relevance to the holder of Galileo due to it would revive the market for gas sales at filling stations because there are more than 1 million units circulating in the streets that fill the fuel equivalent of two or three cars on average, which reinvigorate the marketing of natural gas and favor the installation of new retail outlets. Thus, the gaseous fuel resupply would be even easier, their availability would be assured and autonomous operation of CNG vehicles would be complete.
About the main objectives that governed their work over the next two years in office, Maranca highlighted the decision to promote the implementation of CNG in heavy transport, guiding the auto industry toward production of Otto cycle vehicles powered by gasoline and units also manufactured specifically for natural gas use. According to the executive, unlike the engines designed for gasoline, CNG specific engines allow maximize the higher octane of natural gas.
The realization of this goal was launched last November with a convoy of large size diesel vehicles converted to CNG that departed from the province of Mendoza and arrived in Buenos Aires, during the International Congress on Gaseous Fuels convened by the CAGNC. The greatest exponent of the day was a truck up to 26 tons, able to save $ 1.20 (USD 0.27) per kilometer, with excellent performance and efficiency.
Furthermore, the activity of the Chamber will be directed to the development of natural gas vehicles not only in Argentina but in the Mercosur, through the Blue Corridor project, ie a network of highways and roads with fueling stations suitable for CNG heavy vehicles that will invigorate the entire system.
Finally, Maranca plotted the economic benefits that would entail the use of natural gas for heavy transport in Argentina. He recalled that during 2010, CNG users spent about 8 billion pesos (USD 1.85 billion) less than if they had consumed gasoline. The same sample led to heavy transport could provide a significant competitive advantage for the country, since the cost of transportation is a great price maker.