LNG trucks: (natural) gas as a fuel

The DRÄXLMAIER Group’s transport logistics has been using an LNG truck successfully since 2017. LNG describes natural gas cooled to -161°C. A range of up to 600 km is possible on one full tank.

Brief description

The aim is to constantly improve the company’s ecological footprint. Accordingly, the DRÄXLMAIER Group’s transport logistics has been using an LNG truck since 2017 – and has now (as of September 2018) clocked up a total of just under 125,000 kilometres.

LNG describes natural gas cooled to -161°C. At very low temperatures it changes from a gaseous to a liquid state. This causes the natural gas to shrink to six per cent of its original volume and therefore requires far less space. The greater energy density allows higher ranges with the same tank volume, making it ideal for transporting goods over long distances. In this configuration, a range of up to 600 km is possible on one full tank.

In 2017, DRÄXLMAIER transport logistics achieved a total saving of 416 tonnes of CO2e through the use of trucks with alternative powertrains and through innovative transportation concepts such as combined road-rail freight transport (766,000 km).

The use of natural gas trucks now means that around 18% CO2e in terms of “tank to wheel” can now be saved on every journey.
Besides the reduction in CO2e, LNG trucks effectively lower emissions of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides and particulates and also cut noise exposure compared with diesel trucks.

Greenhouse gas reduction potential

  • Up to approx. 18% less CO2e compared with petroleum-based fuels in terms of “tank to wheel”
  • Virtually no soot particulates and does not require filters or additives (e.g. AdBlue)
  • Admixture of up to 100% bio-methane

Transferability & challenges

  • Recovery of higher costs of procurement over the useful life
  • Low diesel prices in Germany and other countries
  • Flexibility of staff and vehicles through changes in working conditions

Requirements for third parties

  • State assistance for filling stations / infrastructure at strategically important transportation hubs
  • Long-term energy tax differentiation
  • Special asset write-downs
  • Exemption from HGV tolls for alternative powertrains
  • Manufacturers must lower the costs of procurement; therefore subsidies necessary for at least 1,000 CNG and LNG trucks in order to generate effects of scale and leverage cost reduction potential

Requirements for third parties already met

  • State assistance for each truck and semi-trailer:
    • € 8,000 for CNG
    • € 12,000 for LNG
    • Subsidies are limited to € 500,000 per company
    • € 10 million is available in 2018 (this scheme will currently expire at the end of 2020)

Do you have any further questions about this best practice?

We’ll be happy to help you at logistik@2grad.org.

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