Special Guest Interview with Bart van Aerle, Managing Director Prinsautogas

Interview with Bart van Aerle
Managing Director Prins Alternative Fuel Systems

Whats has been critical for industry development over the last few years and how have Prins and other companies adapted?

“The world is concerned with its global energy resources even more than ever before. Are we still going to have fuel for our cars in 40 years’ time? LPG has become one of the potential solutions to this question. It is a product that delivers value in many ways and not only to the end-consumers’ pocket. Over the last three years, the industry has embraced a strategy that is very much focused on ensuring recognition of the contribution that LPG can have across all markets, in both developed and developing markets. It is versatile and can reach remote regions – this is seen in particular in the developing world where infrastructure has not yet evolved as strong as in the developed world. It is also a factor in the developed world in the countryside and in the mountains and those regions that are not on the grid. We also see a lot more applications that use LPG as a fuel. This is good news for Autogas. Besides cars we have boats, lawnmowers, light duty vehicles, trucks, taxis and so much more.

The industry has also been leveraging the role that LPG can have in helping to mitigate climate change. It can also help to make the air we breathe cleaner. People are concerned with the environment around them, and their children; they want to know that they are doing their best to protect nature. Players in the sector like Prins, equipment manufacturers like us, are also being embraced by the global LPG industry, because together we can really make people aware of the value of this unique product. Not enough people are aware of this value but with greater cooperation between organizations and through the sharing of best practices and realizing together the same objectives, this alternative fuel will soon be even better known than it is today. We must build on the work that has already been done by global organizations like the WLPGA. LPG is an alternative fuel today and the market for alternative fuel systems is still a niche market. It has been gaining momentum worldwide as people realize the benefits of LPG, not just to the environment but also to their homes, cars and businesses. Today, the industry recognizes that technology is key to its survival and keeping abreast of developments will help to forge solutions in our global markets for LPG. Prins has invested heavily over the last three years in new technologies and also in maintaining high quality products and we can deliver all technologies to this unique sector. Others are following this example and this helps us to build a reputation for our industry.

What do you think the industry worldwide can expect over the next 3 years? What are the challenges and opportunities ahead? Which markets are the most important?

“As the need for energy will grow year by year the world needs a balanced energy mix of all the different alternative fuels. After the tsunami that occurred in Japan and the subsequent challenges and danger exposed by nuclear power thereafter, the focus on other alternative fuels will be even stronger than before both in Japan and globally. With LPG, what you see is what you get. There is no hidden waste issue – we know that it emits less harmful substances than petrol or diesel.

Truly, the industry’s biggest challenge is to get our message across to politicians, governments, OEMs and end users to help them understand the advantages of LPG – its lower CO2 (15-20%) and NOX (20 times less than diesel) and 120 times less harmful particles versus other fuels and the cost savings to the end user. If we want to get the attention of the governments, we need to have a long term road map of our product and how it will evolve and what we think it can do. Today, the diesel and gas industries have introduced bio diesel and bio methane, we need to also demonstrate bio LPG. Governments, regulating our industry, want to see how the product can adapt with the times and we are in a position to do this. They want to make sure that the product can also be sustainable. There is a product called bio propane being worked on but it is very limited available in terms of volume at the moment. We need to see more of this type of innovation within our industry. LPG is available today! This is not the case for other alternative fuel which will require substantial investment or will not be available on the market for a few years yet. We expect that the US market will become one of the biggest LPG markets in the world with about 240 million vehicles that consume a lot of fuel. It has taken the U.S a long time to realize the difference Autogas can make to its fleets of cars but with organizations like PERC and others awareness is growing fast and we need to be there when the market starts demanding our help.”

What were for Prins defining moments in 2011?

“This year was a good year for Prins. We had healthy growth in terms of market share and in terms of investments into R&D and personnel. In the R&D field, we were pretty busy running quite some projects like the follow-up of VSI being VSI-2.0 (the most advanced vapour injection system available on the market), Direct LiquiMax (our new LPG system with high pressure direct LPG injection for the latest petrol engines) and Dieselblend (our fuel system for controlling optimal fuel balance between diesel and LPG or diesel and CNG).

We finalized the development for Prins Direct LiquiMax and launched this system to the market. Several vehicles/engines have been tested (for the aftermarket and for OEM) and are officially R115/R67 certified for different brands. First sales have taken place. Also, Prins Dieselblend systems are on the market today. Over the last few years we have invested a lot into these new technologies. We will continue to do so, keeping up with global developments.

Looking forward, how can the industry further build on its supporters’ base?

“I think that the world has understood that we need a strong energy mix of all available energies. The world population reached 7 billion only a few months ago and we are using more and more electricity each year. I need to charge my phone and computer every day! I guess a lot of other people do too. We use many appliances and these appliances need energy, without it the world would be at a standstill. Different energies are used for different applications. By far the best energy for your car is Autogas! It is far better than petrol or diesel in the emissions stakes. We need to share this fact with the world. And therefore we need to be united in our objectives and messages which we are with Exceptional Energy and we need to build more on this. Infrastructure is important to our industry too. We need to develop this further in developing countries through successful discussion with governments. Prins has a very strong team of engineers working together cooperating closely with Keihin and SHV Energy to ensure that the company stays ahead of the race and implements our knowledge into our products and our customer care. With this strong foundation, we will continue to explore new countries and increase our market share in the existing markets. “

Bart can be contacted on b.v.aerle@prinsautogas.com
For more information on Prins: www.prinsautogas.com