WLPGA launches a new Autogas Focus Group

I attended the recent GAIN meeting that was held in New York where, under the new GAIN Chairmanship of Armando Viçoso (Repsol), we discussed how the WLPGA could be more effective in developing the global Autogas business, particularly with my providing an additional resource.

The WLPGA now plans to institute a global Autogas Focus Group. The overlap to GAIN will be kept to a minimum as GAIN is already an excellent platform to exchange news and views inside the Autogas industry. The Autogas Focus Group will instead focus on generating and communicating facts on Autogas and to cooperate to a deeper level on critical issues.

The target audience is the outside world, be this the end customer or the automotive industry, their affiliates or governmental entities. Currently these are being approached singly by national LPG associations in their respective regions. As the decision-making horizon of the above said players becomes more and more global, the information and the channels of communication need to be “globalised”. The idea is to align general information accounting for certain regional differences. In short, this group clearly aims to take discussions led in GAIN to a deeper level. The group will work independent of GAIN, meeting at its own discretion. Rooted in the structure of the WLPGA, it will report on its activities during the GAIN meetings.

Fortunately for the LPG industry, recent research and development has produced new knowledge too good to restrict to one single region. There is some “low hanging fruits”, to target:

  • The performance of Autogas in modern turbocharged direct-injection engines is superior to gasoline from the point of view of emissions as well as overall efficiency. The key is to exploit the limits of design engine variants to specifically adapt to alternative fuels of high knock index. This will enable global auto makers a modular approach basing ethanol, CNG and LPG fuelled cars on a single base engine. Although the work is continuing, the first positive results should be publicised soon to highlight the use of Autogas in future engine concepts. The CO2-emissions advantage (tank to wheel) of LPG in a direct injection engine optimised for alternative fuels is almost 50% higher in comparison with that of LPG used in a regular petrol engine of comparable technology.
  • On the other hand the well-to-wheel CO2 emissions of Autogas already nearly match those of CNG. As LPG is a product eith high global availability and its implementation is in many cases the most cost-effective, the market for Autogas is also more widespread. This information, that the “niche” of Autogas is realistic in almost every region, needs to be communicated to governments that are deciding on reduced excise duties in order to incentivise emissions reduction. The information needs to be tailored slightly in order to be presented adequately in the different markets. In general the claim stands: Autogas is fit to find its place in the fuel mix all over the world and effectively help reduce carbon emissions.
  • Autogas needs a global unified connector akin to NGV-1 to aid OEMs integrating LPG as a regular option in their product range. The solution will only be possible with tight cooperation between technical development companies (nozzle manufacturers) and with OEM offering Autogas options. The latter are key to success, as they need to integrate the design into their bodywork. This presents a medium-term project of relatively high priority. The quarrel around fast-charging connectors for electric vehicles should teach us to overcome this problem at a global level.

I look forward to my new role and assisting the WLPGA to further develop the Autogas market.

For more information contact Alexander Stöhr on astoehr@worldlpgas.com