In an interview with Verkehrsrundschau (issue 1-2/2019) Axel Blume, Programme Manager Mobility and Fuel Strategy at NOW GmbH, explains the current state of the LNG refuelling infrastructure in Germany and how many LNG filling stations are planned.

Where is it already possible for trucks to refuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Germany today, and to what extent will the infrastructure develop?

There are currently three publicly accessible filling stations in Grünheide near Berlin, Hamburg and Ulm. But mineral oil and energy supply companies already have plans in place for another 25 LNG filling stations across Germany. By 2020/21 we will see a larger number of such stations along the trans-European motorway network. This is due to the EU Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID). With the corresponding EU funding, a harmonised infrastructure for alternative fuels such as LNG is to be established throughout the

Why is the expansion of the refuelling station infrastructure in Germany not progressing at a faster pace?

We need to distinguish between publicly accessible filling stations on the one and those found on-site at the depots of freight companies on the other. The latter are subject to shorter approval periods, not least because they are smaller. Over the next few years there will therefore also be a number of LNG filling stations located at depots which, in many instances, will only serve the respective companies. For the 25 EU-funded filling stations mentioned above, the exact geographical coordinates have not yet been determined.

Why is Germany lagging behind other EU countries?

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are a few steps ahead of Germany in terms of the number of refuelling infrastructure facilities and vehicles. In all honesty, however, it must be mentioned that the logistics processes there, too, have largely been based on diesel-powered trucks for decades. But countries like Italy and Spain have had natural gas import terminals in their ports for a longer time already.

(Interview: Kerstin Kloss)