A breakthrough on Lithuanian roads – the zero excise tax on natural gas that was introduced this year in Lithuania, as well as the fact that it has become not only environmentally friendly but also competitively priced fuel, was undoubtedly noticed by international motor manufacturers and Lithuanian logistics companies. At the present moment, in Lithuania the Swedish “Scania”, together with Lithuanian logistics companies and infrastructure developers, is testing the natural gas and hydrogen fuel buses and cargo vehicles, and the logistics companies are ready to renew their motor vehicle fleets with natural gas vehicles in case there will appear a denser refueling infrastructure, especially for liquefied natural gas – LNG. The participants of the international business conference “Innovations on Lithuanian roads” that was organized by the Association for Alternative Fuel and Infrastructure (“ADIA“) on November 15 in Vilnius discussed the problem of insufficient availability of resources of the Lithuanian natural gas terminal for Lithuanian logistics companies, and its rapid development is possible only if the Government contributes to the creation of liquefied natural gas infrastructure, because even after the zero excise tax has been introduced, such investment is still too expensive for business.
“We welcome the government’s decision to stimulate the use of ecological fuel and to abolish the excise tax on natural gas for transport this year – this undoubtedly contributes to the development of ecological fuels. However, this is only the beginning. If we are striving for a major breakthrough, then other actions of our government should be also aimed at helping the logistic companies to get a real access to the resources of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which are still not available for vehicles using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel for a long-distance cargo transportation.
It seems strange both to us and the logistic companies that after having invested a great amount of money in the LNG terminal, Lithuania has not still planned incomparably low investment for making LNG absolutely available type of alternative fuel for Lithuanian cargo companies. We believe that government investments can contribute to the creation of infrastructure of LNG refueling stations because until now all costs of gas refueling infrastructure lied heavy on business only. Over the past eleven years, the Lithuanian companies at their own expense have created the infrastructure system of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Lithuanian cities, have invested in scientific research on the use of natural gas and hydrogen and have opened the first Laboratory on Alternative Fuel Research in the Baltic States while collaborating with Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and its academic specialists.
In order to stimulate the LNG innovations, we planned to open the first LNG refueling station at the Lithuanian-Polish border at our own cost and expense; however, due to a slow project approval by the government agencies we had to postpone the opening of the station to the third quarter of 2019. Therefore, we hope that now, when both international motor manufacturers and Lithuanian logistics companies have shown their interest, the government will also hear our voice. Our goal is to connect in Lithuania the transport corridors of the Northern Europe, the Baltic States and the rest of Europe, and that the vehicle fueled at the LNG station in Lithuania could easily drive a distance of 1.5 thousand km from the next refueling station. We hope that through the example of other EU countries, our initiative will be supported by all interested parties”, – says Mr. Virginijus Korsakas, the Head of the Lithuanian Association for Alternative Fuel.
The Ministers of Lithuanian Energy and Telecommunication, the Heads of “Scania” International Concern, the Heads of the refueling infrastructure company “G dujos” and the bus fleets using natural gas, the Heads of the Lithuanian gas terminal and gas-supplying companies, the academic specialists of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University participated in the conference “Innovations on Lithuanian roads” that was organized by the Lithuanian Association for Alternative Fuel and Infrastructure.
According to Mr. Korsakas, the near-term plan for the infrastructure development in Lithuania is to open the CNG refueling stations in Vilnius and Kaunas, as well as the LNG and other alternative fuel station in Kalvarija, later – to open the station northward – near Panevėžys. The implementation of EU directives in European countries requires the creation of a gas system for transport, according to which the LNG refueling stations should be located at a distance of no more than 400 km, and the CNG stations – at a distance of no more than 150 km.
According to Mr. Ignacio Cortezon Marques, the Head of Bus sales department of “Scania” Group, the company motivates the environment-friendly decisions both for passenger and cargo traffic. “Scania” has all commercial solutions, which are available on the market, i.e. biogas, liquid compressed natural gas, hybrids for buses and trucks.
According to the director of “Scania Lithuania” Mr. Darius Snieška, a few years ago “Scania” had no serious plans to supply natural gas trucks to the Lithuanian market, but today everything is changing and the first truck is already being tested by the Lithuanian logistics company “Vlantana”. Lithuania is the ninth largest market for truck sales in Europe, so “Scania” International Concern sees a lot of potential for further cooperation and development.
According to the Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuanian Mr. Rokas Masiulis, who welcomed the initiatives of the conference, the issue of alternative fuel is extremely important in the state, and the government supports private business initiatives – the pollution should be reduced by nine percent by the year 2030, otherwise the state will have to pay heavy fines.
According to the Minister of Energy of Lithuania Mr. Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, it is important that the challenges and dangers of alternative sources be turned into opportunities, and the decision of “Scania” for using natural gas and hydrogen in Lithuania evidences that Lithuania has a well-formed environment both in the political and transport sense.
The Association stimulates investment in the introduction of environmentally friendly alternative fuels and the intelligent infrastructure of refueling stations, as well as the increase in number of new vehicles. The Association unites and seeks to balance and represent the interests of all parties interested in the development of alternative fuels – compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, electricity and other types of fuel that can make a significant contribution to the pollution and noise abatement in residential areas.