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• om Jaworski has the rather redundant title of CNG Manager for Mobil CNG. He has been

11th October 2001
Page 29
Page 29, 11th October 2001 — • om Jaworski has the rather redundant title of CNG Manager for Mobil CNG. He has been
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working on automotive CNG marketing since beginning of 1998 and now heads a team of eight 3ialists: "It's important that these people have the Team technical expertise," he remarks.

laworski is a marine engineer by training and has n with Mobil for 14 years. He has worked offshore at most stages of the natural gas production and keting process.

us team works with OEMs around the world to them understand the UK market: 'We are a -ce of knowledge at our customers' disposal. We them the confidence that they're dealing with a Derly supported concept—that's what we're aim:0 offer. And we get players together...we know we 3 solved technical problems which others have id at."

laworski is a real evangelist for natural gas, and he .ives that there are economic arguments for natgas in the UK economy. In 1999 the UK was the id's fourth largest producer of natural gas (behind USSR, USA and Canada) and it was the third est market

Tor many reasons natural gas is seen as an area ompetitive strength in the UK," he says. "Market etration is as high as anywhere in the world." He Is that 95% of the UK population is within 25 :res of a gas supply, pointing out that transporting by pipeline (rather than using road or rail 4ers) is desirable in terms of congestion and env mental sustainability.

Also, the high population density of the UK ans that there is a relatively high proportion of Jrn-to-base fleets—and these are prime targets CNG sales.

According to Jaworski, the development of the 3 market is like "a five-card trick—all the elements e to be in place". By these he means government port, industry support from the gas suppliers and licle builders, and (of course) a customer base. What about the first part of the "trick": are CNG pliers getting enough direct government aid? In iwer to that, Jaworski says firmly, "Yes. The governnt has created an environment where it is advantaws to develop natural gas. Differential taxation has iated an incentive, not a subsidy".

Jaworski has an interesting take on the role of goviment in gas power: "Government is the customer the environmental benefits we offer." He admits t where the uptake of CNG-powered vehicles has rked overseas, it has largely been due to a preiptive approach (for instance in India), but he ieves that if the move to gas is market-driven, me the thing starts to take off it will move 'y fast".

"Powershift has been an invaluable aid to us," he is. "They provide the most visible evidence that rernment is supporting the field. And for the first ie now Powershift has funding beyond the Tent year."

Jaworski is honest about the current state of the IG vehicle market: "There is no network of supply CNG. No one is going to build one and wait for cusners to turn up." But he adds: "If you start even the )st rudimentary network of supply you can attract toy more customers. "If you look at diesel 50 years ago it was a bulk fuel. CNG today is where diesel was 50 years ago."

What about the availability of vehicles? Jaworski is delighted that Scania has joined ERF in the UK market. As he puts it: "Two vehicles gives much more than twice the choice. The critical path for CNG development for commercial applications is dependent on the supply of vehicles. In three to four years I'd definitely say there's a market for 6-7,000 large CNG-engined vehicles—predominantly pure CNG rather than dualfuel. The economics of CNG are linked to volume. We want to show that CNG is a robust commercial proposition.

"For the next couple of years, we make no bones about the fact that we are targeting the big return-tobase fleets. The thing we've set out to do is establish operational credibility. We've systematically identified objections and overcome them. At the end of the day you can't expect commercial organisations to do this for our health; you've got to show that it is worthwhile"

So what is the price of CNG? "Each project is looked at on an individual basis. There's no such thing as a 'pole price' for CNG." But assuming a fleet size of 40 vehicles, each doing 150,000km a year, he reports that Mobil's price would be in "the low 505; say 52p/kg". This includes duty but not VAT.

"Our aim with CNG is to make it an unequivocal low-cost proposition," he adds. "We want to make it as attractive as we possibly can." But he doesn't make unreasonable claims, calculating that the smallest fleet which would save money by moving to CNG would have 10-12 HGVs each covering about 150,000knn a year.

What about filling technology—are overnight "slow fill" stations the way ahead? Not according to Jaworski: 'We're definitely going for fast fill—it makes sense in our market." He fully understands the public's unease with gaseous fuels: "People ask questions about safety, and so they should." For each commercial filling installation, Mobil performs a "HazOp": a "hazard and operability" study. This systematically identifies, quantifies and reduces risks. 'We're a leader in taking that approach", says Jaworski. "The tank is the main point of customer concern. We deal with that head-on."

He explains that there are three requirements for an explosion to happen: • A combustible mixture (fuel and air, for example); • A containment of that mixture (inside a tank, for instance); • An ignition source such as a spark.

While a typical petrol or diesel tank provides the first two elements, a natural gas tank (which might contain liquid fuel with a blanket of gas over it) does not provide a combustible mixture—air is excluded— so two of the elements are missing.

What about LNG and other fuels, such as LPG? "I'm pleased that there are also competing technologies, it's all about choice."

But he does point to problems with other fuels. Dual-fuel (gas/diesel) systems are interesting, for example, but are not for everyone: "The appeal is highly market-specific. Dual-fuel doesn't necessarily address the issues that apply in this country." For example, most operators keen on using gas spend a high proportion of their time in urban operation, where air quality is the biggest issue. But this is where dual-fuel vehicles inevitably use the highest proportion of diesel.

"LPG is a different fuel for a different market. It's a very visible quick hit," says Jaworski. He describes LPG as "a retail fuel", unlike CNG, but points out that the supply of LPG is inherently limited, as it is produced from a light fraction of oil. While the existing UK market for natural gas is (in energy terms) twice the size of that for automotive fuels, Jaworski reckons that the LPG infrastructure could not supply more than 4-5% of the UK's automotive needs.

But here again, Jaworski is happy about the prospect of competition: "The more fuels that are available, the more credible it is to use any other fuel than petrol."


People: Scania, Jaworski

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