LNG public transport boosting with ItalScania, IIA and HVM
11 Sep 2020 - ConferenzaGNL
In Emilia Romagna, not only TPER (Transport of Passengers Emilia Romagna), already active for years in the use of LNG, but also the Forlì-based START Romagna chooses liquid methane as its first option. The Veneto Region also arrives, with the projects of the ATV (Verona Transport Company). Among the suppliers of the vehicles, ItalScania is joined by IIA (Industria Italia Autobus, formerly Breda Menarini). The technological innovation of HVM (High Vacuum Maintenance), manufacturer of cryogenic tanks, was decisive, allowing them to be positioned on the roof of cars.
In the TPER fleet, 31 new LNG buses began to enter service in Bologna last July. The vehicles, Citymood LNG 12 meters, were produced by IIA, winner of a special European tender held in recent years. Deliveries will end in the fall. The supply is added to the vehicles supplied in 2019 by ItalScania.
90% of the investment was self-financed directly by TPER and the remainder with European POR-FESR funds, acquired by the Emilia Romagna Region in implementation of the Regional Energy Plan. Overall, TPR plans to bring the LNG fleet to 96 vehicles in a few years with the tenders concluded, while a new tender provides for the acquisition of another 117 LNG vehicles.
The tanks, thanks to a technological innovation by HVM, manufacturer of cryogenic tanks from Livorno, Tuscany Region, are positioned on the front of the roof, slightly behind those of the compressed methane. They have been designed and produced specifically for this positioning, and are the first in the world in terms of size and structure.
The tanks can be four (1,152 liters of LNG), adopted in the first vehicles to be delivered, and ensure a minimum range of 1000 kilometers, being able to reach 1500 in certain conditions. The installation of only two tanks (576 liters of LNG) is also envisaged, which can be adopted depending on the length of the trips, between suburban and urban service. In any case, the autonomy is more than double compared to compressed natural gas and Diesel models. Refueling takes place for both configurations in minutes.
Thanks to the lowered floor, allowed by the displacement of the tanks on the roof, the new vehicles are the first in Europe to run on liquid methane that guarantee full accessibility, being able to accommodate passengers with reduced mobility in full comfort and luggage for extra-urban routes. These are two or three door “metropolitan” buses suitable for suburban service in metropolitan areas of cities such as Bologna. All parts of the vehicles were produced by Italian companies.
The tenders won by the IIA for the original LNG buses contributed to the relaunch of the only national company producing public service vehicles, heir to a century-old history, close to bankruptcy until a few years ago.
“These models represent the right transition to electric and hydrogen mobility,” said Councilor Vincenzo Colla, regional councilor for economic development and green economy at the presentation of the vehicles.
Start Romagna, the public transport company in the Romagna area into which the three historic transport management companies, AVM, ATM and TRAM Servizi, merged, followed the example of TPR, putting six LNG buses into service at the beginning of the summer Scania Interlink Ld, of the type already in use in Bologna, with an investment entirely self-financed by the company.
The vehicles will carry out the service in the regional context, connecting Forlì with Cervia, Santa Lucia and Rocca San Casciano, and will exploit the management economies resulting from the greater autonomy of LNG vehicles compared to other supplies, because they do not necessarily require daily supplies.
Development programs will continue with the start of construction of a new internal LNG distributor in Forlì, for an investment of 800 thousand euros, and, subsequently, another in Cesena. The Start Romagna Business Plan provides for the purchase of 90 LNG buses over the three-year period.
“The enhancement of local public transport through these new means represents an important investment for the whole territory. A significant step forward in the structural project for the renewal of the vehicle fleet both in terms of efficiency and respect for the environment”, declared the mayor of Forlì Gian Luca Zattini during the presentation of the vehicles.
The Veneto Region is also interested in the use of LNG public transport, which last July approved the new Regional Transport Plan. The competent regional councilor, Elisa De Berti, on the occasion of the presentation of an experimental urban electric vehicle in Verona, said: “The most advantageous solution to power the buses for suburban transport will be that of liquid methane. In this perspective, using specific national funding wings destined for sustainable public transport infrastructure, we will be able to build the necessary refueling stations”. Affirmation shared by the President of ATV Massimo Bettarello.