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Refueling Points for LNG Trucks

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Liquefied gas is an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel. Bilfinger is playing a leading role in expanding LNG infrastructure.

The aim is for heavy goods transportation on German roads to impact the environment and climate much less in the future. This is why the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure launched a subsidy program for heavy goods vehicles designed to facilitate the switch-over from diesel to alternative fuels for forwarders and other companies that have their own fleets. The trend toward LNG is plain to see. Compared with diesel, liquefied gas produces up to 25 percent fewer CO2 emissions and reduces nitrogen oxide by almost 90 percent. And with a range of 1,500 kilometers on a single tank of fuel, LNG-powered trucks are a genuine alternative to diesel vehicles. LNG lets logistics companies reduce their environmental footprint in a highly economical manner.

LNG has the advantage that, for long-haul freight, there is a technology already available today that is both greener than diesel and economical.”"

Andreas LischkeInstitute for Transport Research at the German Aerospace Center

The fundamental prerequisite for any appreciable deployment of LNG trucks is a comprehensive network of refueling points. An EU directive requires that LNG-powered vehicles be able to refuel easily throughout the European road network by the year 2025 at the latest, with the maximum distance between refueling points not exceeding 400 kilometers. Import terminals are the starting point for the LNG supply chain. This is where the natural gas is stored in insulated tanks at extremely low temperatures since it reaches its liquid aggregate state at -163 degrees Celsius. Transported via road, rail or pipeline, LNG reaches trailer loading stations before being distributed by truck to individual refueling points.

Bilfinger boasts in-depth expertise in LNG technology and will in the coming years join forces with a range of partners to create a network of several hundred LNG loading stations and refueling points across Europe. So far, ten refueling points have been built in France, Germany and Poland. A further 24 will follow in 2020. As an end-to-end provider, Bilfinger offers both installation and maintenance services. The company is partnering with tech firm Cryostar, which offers market-ready solutions for LNG fueling.


Since LNG is often needed in places far removed from major import terminals, facilities that produce the fuel locally in smaller quantities and deliver it on demand are playing an increasingly important role. This is why Bilfinger is further expanding its small-scale LNG activities. In collaboration with Cryotec Anlagenbau GmbH, subsidiary Bilfinger EMS has developed a concept for preparing small quantities of gas for liquefaction. It entails treating gas from various sources, the liquefaction technology as well as making LNG available for further use in Europe.


Ask Andreas Lischke about the benefits of LNG and he doesn’t have to think twice. “From an environmental perspective, the primary advantages lie in reduced particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions. The fact that liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be freely mixed and used with liquefied biomethane is another plus that helps to minimize greenhouse gas emissions,” says Lischke. And he would know: Lischke is not only a team leader at the German Aerospace Center’s Institute for Transport Research but also coauthor of the 2019 Shell LNG study. The high energy density of liquefied natural gas also means it provides a long range Subsidies have ensured that the use of LNG in long-haul and heavy goods transportation is already competitive today. So what does he regard as the biggest hurdle? “The widespread availability of LNG must be guaranteed.” Bilfinger is a key player in making it happen.

Published in issue 01.2020

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