Ryan Pasupathy (NGV Transportation)
gazeo.com: NGV market is still a developing one. The Asian market is the leader in this sector. How to characterize the condition of the industry in your region?
Ryan Pasupathy (NGV Transportation editor): The South East Asian region is one that is growing at a rapid pace. Countries such as Thailand have experienced a massive boom in recent years and boast a whopping 400,000 NGVs on their roads. They are the leaders in the region and rank 10th on the total number of NGVs in the world. This, however, does not accurately represent the region’s development as the other nations in the region are far behind in terms of NGV numbers with Malaysia being the closest with about 50,000 vehicles. The NGV industry in SEA would be best characterized as one that is "budding".
Which countries are the biggest NGV markets and which NGV markets grow the fastest?
Much of the Asian NGV market dominance comes from Iran, Pakistan, China and India. These countries combined make the Asia-Pacific region the largest NGV market in the world taking up more than half or the global market share.
Other significant countries would be Brazil and Argentina, which are currently ranked 3rd and 4th in the world by NGV numbers with a combined total of more than 4 million vehicles.
From 2012 to 2013 there was a rise of about 5% in natural gas vehicles globally. Largest growing nations contributing to this growth would be Pakistan and China, which have some experience in widespread use of CNG vehicles and development of filling station infrastructure.
Are there any mechanisms which support development of this market (subsidies, tax reliefs, other)?
Government incentives are a major mechanism supporting the growth of NGVs. In fact, with global fuel prices as they currently are, it is close to impossible for the success of this industry without it. The government plays a pivotal role in making natural gas a viable fuel alternative to conventional fuels. It is imperative that the government works closely with the companies involved and the public to guarantee developmental success.
One example where the government has played a brilliant role in effecting change would be Thailand. The Thai government passed an initiative subsidizing conversion and purchase of NGVs which resulted in overwhelming response, making the country proud owners of the 10th largest NGV fleet in the world.
Public opinion and enabling infrastructure are another two key mechanisms that are necessary for development. The public need to be convinced that natural gas as a vehicle fuel is the future and that it is good for them. It is also necessary for there to be enabling infrastructure such as filling stations and retrofitting services to make the idea of using a gas powered vehicle not one that would be a hindrance to the user.
What is the biggest challenge the industry in your region has to face?
The biggest problem in the region is the lack of enabling infrastructure such as filling stations and pipeline transport. The development of the industry is somewhat stalled until big players move in and set up the infrastructure to reassure the public that they can reap some form of reward by switching to NGV.
What type of transport is the driving force of NGV market (urban transport, municipal transport or other)?
Municipal transport and long haul transport are the two primary driving forces at the moment. The LNG engine has put diesel fleet owners to shame as they prepare to slash their fuel expenses through conversion. Fleet conversion has proven to offer massive cost saving opportunities. The benefits are causing hordes of fleet owners to make the switch with only more doing the same each passing day.
High-horsepower (HHP) heavy duty vehicles (HDVs) are the other type of transport that is surging ahead as far as NGVs are concerned. A large number of these vehicles is used extensively in the mining and plantation sectors. The switch is sweeping the globe and is becoming the new standard in these sectors.
What are the prospects for the development of the NGV sector?
The applications for NGV use are pretty much unlimited. As technology continues to develop, there will be fewer and fewer excuses for vehicles to continue to run on filthy conventional fuels.
Opportunities exist also on the seas, as there is much room for growth in the use of gas as a fuel for sea-bound vessels. This is a relatively new market and is seeing some large corporations investing significant amounts of capital into R&D and construction of these vessels.
LNG technology is developing very dynamically. Does it translate into an increase in the number of LNG vehicles? How do users perceive this technology?
Yes, it directly translates into an increase in the number of LNG vehicles. The development in technology is solving issues and finding more spots where LNG performs more efficiently than conventional fuels. This will correlate directly with an increase in the number of people deciding that money can be made through the use of LNG.
Users who have adopted the technology are happily reaping the benefits that have come along with it.
Does the future belong to CNG or maybe to LNG?
The future belongs to both of these fuels as their applications are different and they both have their own roles to play in the dynamic world that we live in.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you and best regards to all readers!
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