Natural Gas-powered Car Rally Ran through Vilnius

2014 October 15


This time, the participants of the Natural Gas-powered Car Rally Blue Corridor, which has been arranged since 2008, visited Vilnius. On this occasion, a round-table discussion was held. The using of natural gas in transport vehicles in the Baltic Region was discussed.

Not Only Ecology, but Also Economy

“Natural gas is a clean and environment friendly fuel. Statistics demonstrates that the number of various transport vehicles using such fuel increases continuously. The good news is that more and more of them appear also in Lithuania “, – said Mr Vidas Korsakas, the director of the “SG dujos Auto“. VGTU Professor Dr doc. Saugirdas Pukalskas spoke about the benefits of natural gas using in transport. According to him, the EU directives foresee to reduce environment pollution, move to renewable energy sources. One of such sources is natural gas.

“There are very rich reserves of natural gas in the world – they exceed significantly the reserves of oil. Moreover, it is possible to produce natural gas using various waste. Natural gas offers long-term safety of transport provision, reduced pollution emission into the environment “, – explained Dr S. Pukalskas. According to him, in Lithuania, natural gas is mainly used in public transport. However, the professor did not manage to determine the total number of natural gas-powered cars in Lithuania. “Regitra“ still does not have such calculation methodology.

In addition to the lower pollution emission to the environment rates, which are obvious, according to the statement of Dr S. Pukalskas, natural gas is also beneficial to a vehicle. “Using such fuel, the wear of engine cylinder and piston parts is reduced, whereas lubrication oil is not washed from the walls of a cylinder, cylinders are uniformly filled with the mixture of fuel, etc.   Furthermore, using natural gas, any expensive additives, such as “Ad Blue“are not needed, – said prof. Dr S. Pukalskas.

LNG powered transport vehicles are less noisy then diesel powered ones. One more advantage is that compressed natural gas may be, as required, replaced with cleaned biogas.

“Recently, more and more manufacturers present compressed natural gas-powered vehicles. There is a wide selection to users. Recently were also introduced the first transport vehicles with liquefied natural gas (LNG) systems“, – said Prof. Dr S. Pukalskas.

According to the professor, the number of filling stations, where the balloons of transport vehicles could be filled up with LN gas, increased significantly. In addition to Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, such filling stations will appear in Marijampolė, Telšiai, and Ukmergė.

“Having performed a research, we calculated the cost of petrol, diesel fuel and LN gas, filled at a filling station or home, needed to drive a car 100 kilometres. In such case petrol would cost from 27 to 45 Lt, diesel fuel – from 23 to 39 Lt, LN gas filled in a filling station – from 23 to 43 Lt. However, if we fill the balloons of a car with gas at home, it would cost from 16 to 30 Lt. In this case natural gas-powered cars could be competitive“, – stated prof. S. Pukalskas.

„Blue Corridor“ – Yearly

The participants of Blue Corridor 2014 presented the aims, routes and experience of their campaign. Blue Corridor is held yearly, every year a new route is selected for the trip by compressed natural gas-powered cars.   This year, having started in St. Petersburg, cars went to Tartu, Riga, and Vilnius. Next their route will go through Pilsen, Nuremberg, Milan, Verona, Zagreb, Belgrade and Budapest.

Since 2008, the participants of the campaign have already driven 27 thousand 600 kilometres. Various types of cars made by various manufacturers are allowed to participate in the rally. The only condition – they must be equipped with factory equipment. According to the participants of the rally, the main aim is to popularise compressed natural gas as the fuel to be used in the engines of transport vehicles. Perhaps the most impressive participant of the rally this time was the powerful natural gas-powered racing KaMAZ, which surmounted the Dakar Rally.

Round table discussions are held in every city, where the participants of Blue Corridor come. Politicians, city leaders, journalists and transport specialists participate in such discussions.  The benefit of natural gas using is discussed everywhere. According to the participants of the rally, in the regions, which the participants of the Blue Corridor have already passed, the number of natural gas-powered vehicles increased 17 %.

In the Future – LNG

The participants of the discussions had an occasion to hear about the using of CNG as well as liquid natural gas (LNG) in Europe and Germany. In 2013, about 1.485 million of compressed natural gas-powered transport vehicles were driven in Europe. The network of CNG filling stations is well developed in the major part of Western Europe, the number of such filing stations increases continuously. You may find filling stations every five kilometres in German cities, mixed filling stations, where it is possible to fill your tanks with various fuel – every 10-15 km, and in the countryside, CNG filling stations are arranged every 20-25 kilometres. In the countries of Europe, CN gas is usually used by city buses, taxis, and communal vehicles.

The variety of transport vehicles using CNG is really wide. Such vehicles have been presented by almost all major manufacturers, thus a user has rather wide possibilities to choose. Recently, the number of liquid natural gas-powered transport vehicles also increases. Whereas natural gas becomes liquid only in presence of – 161 C° temperature, this fuel-powered transport vehicles must be specially prepared. However the significantly increased density of liquid gas enables the accumulation of huge quantities of energy, which are sufficient to drive 600 – 800 km.

There are not many filling stations in Europe, where you can fill the tank of your vehicle with LNG. However the aim is raised that such filling stations should be equipped every 400 kilometres up to 2020. In present, a plant processing natural gas into liquid condition operates in St. Petersburg. Almost thirty liquid gas terminals have been constructed in the regions of Europe. Recently, a LNG-powered truck IVECO Stralis was presented to Lithuanian carriers. The participants of the discussion also discussed the topicalities, vistas and practical aspects as well as challenges of natural gas using as fuel for transport.

Last year, the participants of the Blue Corridor Rally visited Klaipėda, where a round-table discussion was also held.

Prepared according to information