Emerging natural gas and helium producer Renergen has completed the commissioning of its second compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station, in Johannesburg.
The filling station will begin supplying CNG to Black Knight Logistics for a fleet of about 15 trucks, starting this month.
In a statement issued on Monday, Renergen said using natural gas as an alternate fuel source has been a significant topic in South Africa’s automotive industry for years, owing to the growing need to curtail dependency on conventional fossil fuels, the soaring price of diesel and petrol, and the need to reduce harmful carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions.
Black Knight, along with Babcock Transport Solutions, have converted the run on a combination of CNG and diesel simultaneously, known as diesel dual fuel (DDF).
DDF vehicles have lower running costs and substantially lower greenhouse-gas emissions, compared with vehicles running on diesel alone.
Babcock is the sole distributor of DAF Trucks in Southern Africa and is tackling carbon emissions by exploring alternative and more efficient fuel sources by bringing dual fuel CNG-powered DAF Trucks to the regional market, while maintaining the trucks’ full warranty, even when using dual fuel alternatives.
Babcock is the first to offer fully supported natural gas dual fuel DAF vehicles to the long-haul and regional transport segments.
The CNG filling station has been established as the dedicated station for Black Knight, as part of its transition to more sustainable fuels. The station will be used to service the trucks Black Knight is converting to run on natural gas.
The filling station will operate until the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at Renergen’s Virginia gas project, in the Free State, comes on line in 2021, at which point all CNG will be replaced in favour of the more energy-dense LNG.
This will also help to increase the distance the trucks can travel between refills.
Renergen CEO Stefano Marani says this is a positive development for the company.
He explains that the CNG filling station will significantly increase the current pilot phase revenues and will realise Renergen’s vision of “supplying clean and sustainable energy into the logistics sector through the use of readily-available technology”.
“Delivering on sustainability targets is now easily attainable [for logistics companies] and companies can gain the dual benefit of reducing cost and emissions,” he comments.
He credits Black Knight for “taking the first step of purchasing the very first commercial fleet of natural gas-powered trucks in the South African market”.
Black Knight CEO Jacques D’ymant, meanwhile, says that developing the company’s DDF fleet with the intention of later migrating to LNG will make the company not only the first to take it to the market, but also allow Black Knight to take a step closer to a greener future.
“Our customers will also gain a competitive advantage in the industry, by benefiting from the cost savings achieved through the use of natural gas,” he says.