DOSSIER I Green Fleet Management
Refuelling the future All the lobbying power and political clout in the world won’t matter if your main product is becoming stigmatised, unfashionable, and obsolete. Fleet Europe investigates how, before a new green world, fuel suppliers are preparing their future.
ay fuel suppliers and perhaps you think Exxon, Shell and BP. But will they be there tomorrow? There’s an e-revolution afoot and fossil fuels are out. So what are the big boys doing to manage a future where new fuels are the aim of the game? The construction of new fuels and their infrastructures are being fast-tracked across much of the world as emission caps, new fuel targets and green-thinking take over. So while petrol gets a bad press, it’s all about new fuels – and the oil industry’s big boys are watching, waiting and building. Hydrogen Although expensive and problematic to transport, hydrogen fuel cells are a hot topic. Just last month the European Parliament’s Transport Committee voted on measures to build-up the alternative fuel station infrastructure across Europe to break the oil dependency of transport; and to solve the “chicken and egg” problem of hydrogen fuel cells. The UK aims to have 60 hydrogen fueling stations by 2015 as part of a Europe-wide initiative. Navigant estimates the FCV market will grow from $194 million in 2015 to $73.8 billion in 2030 and there are very real plans to build a hydrogen highways that spans much of the continent. You may be thinking gas giants like Centrica, Eon, Total, BOC or Iber-
FLEET EUROPE # 68
Petrol is still the order of today but tomorrow, when other alternative fuels are king, the oil companies want to be ready. drola should be best-placed to lead the hydrogen charge, but it’s actually a race that’s wide open – and you just wouldn’t write off the oil barrens yet. Hydrogen’s supply chain and economic infrastructure needs investment and bulletproofing – and oil companies are working on it. Natural gas is the parent product to hydrogen, but wind-power, hydro-power, nuclear, and solar power all – in different ways and at different points – feed the hydrogen-fuel supply chain, so there’s been heavy investment from oil companies. BP tells us they’ve spent $1 billion in alternative energy in 2012 alone, bringing total investment in greener options to $7.6 billion since 2005. Oil and gas giant alike are jostling for position for the moment (if and when) hydrogen takes over on our roads. Both Exxon and BP have swallowed up
natural gas companies and are flexing their muscles in shale drilling and fructuring. It has, only recently, become technically feasible and worthwhile to transport liquified natural gas over long distances by ship. So there’s global market potential in gas that there wasn’t before and, as it stands, there is still no global market or global price for gas. If it becomes the primary source for fuel on the world’s roads, there will be a race to set prices and manage the economics of hydrogen – and everyone wants a casting vote in that process. Efficiency, Bio-fuels, and the future In the short term, smarter fuel solutions involve working with the primary power sources. BP Fuel Sales Manager (Aral) Stefan Mahler told Fleet Europe that prolonging fuel’s life
Published on Jan 24, 2014