November 14, 2020. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is an excellent substitute for conventional diesel fuel: this is the conclusion of a joint pilot project between RWE Supply & Trading, the operating company of the Port of Duisburg, and the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. Consequently, compared to diesel, LNG is much more environmentally friendly and also easy to use.
Over a two-year period between early 2018 and mid-2020, the consortium investigated the use of the alternative fuel in the world’s largest inland port. Andree Stracke, Commercial Director of RWE Supply & Trading, establishes a positive balance: “The introduction of alternative energies is a key lever to reduce emissions in transport. Liquefied gas is already a good solution, both in heavy vehicle traffic and in maritime transport, until hydrogen or synthetic fuels are available cheaply and in sufficient quantities. We are therefore pleased that our partner Rolande has recently installed an LNG filling station in the port of Duisburg.”
Vehicles from the port and local transport companies can refuel LNG with the mobile tank system. The units made available by Duisport were tested under everyday conditions, as part of the research project, and compared with diesel engine variants.
Scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen provided scientific support to the initiative with their specialized areas of mechatronics, construction and management. “Our analyzes have shown that natural gas is a viable alternative to the established diesel engine that is suitable for everyday use in port vehicles and can reduce emissions in the transportation sector,” emphasize the scientists. “This is also underlined by the positive feedback from Duisburg port employees. They have thoroughly tested the vehicles and the service station infrastructure in real operation and found them to be good.”
The evaluation of the series of measurements showed around 10% less specific CO2 emissions and a 50% reduction in carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions compared to conventional diesel. The project thus reaches a clear result: with the same mechanical work of the engine, a vehicle powered solely by LNG significantly reduces both climate-damaging emissions and local pollutants compared to a diesel-powered one. In addition, the practical experience of the employees was analyzed. Here too the conclusion was positive. The drivers not only noticed little difference between the LNG and diesel vehicles, but also stated that the converted units were much quieter in operation.