U.K.-based Gasrec recorded a five-fold increase in sales of gas across its commercial vehicle refueling network in the first quarter, versus the same period in 2019.
This record growth follows an influx of new trucks into the market running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) – with demand in March exceeding the previous peak of September 2014, at the height of the Euro-5 dual-fuel era.
“The growth we have seen has been phenomenal, with volumes more than doubling between the final quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020,” says James Westcott, CCO of Gasrec.
“Registrations of heavy-duty vehicles has played a big role, together with the general realization from the industry that gas represents the best opportunity right now to significantly reduce emissions and running costs,” he adds.
Gasrec now expects its CNG and LNG volumes to flatten temporarily as European truck production is largely halted due to COVID-19, limiting the opportunity for new gas-powered vehicles to enter the market.
Gasrec counts three supermarket chains among its major customers – recording heavy fleet utilization during March in the battle to keep shelves and RDCs stocked.
Demand for gas year-to-date is currently split approximately 70/30 in terms of LNG versus CNG, with LNG proving most popular for vehicles requiring maximum range.
Gasrec supplies fleets from a network of eight refueling facilities, with its flagship site at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) – Europe’s largest dedicated natural gas refueling station – currently running at just over 30% capacity. At maximum utilization, DIRFT has the capacity to refuel 700 heavy-duty vehicles per day.
Photo: Gasrec’s landing page