Is natural gas the fuel of the future for truck transportation?
In Quebec, the objective is to adopt an energy policy that favours a low-carbon economy.
The trucking industry is one of the sectors that emits the most greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to its high fuel consumption. It emits 41% of Quebec GHGs, 82% of which come from the road sector. The time has come to switch to a cleaner alternative. Natural gas is therefore a future solution for the transport industry since it appears to be the least environmentally polluting gas and is less expensive.
What is natural gas?
Natural gas is mainly composed of methane, but may also contain small amounts of other gases, such as ethane, propane, pentanes and butane. Formed millions of years ago, this gas is usually trapped in small porous rocks. In order to extract it, traditional drilling methods or a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are used.
Canada has many operating sites for extracting this valuable gas. The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and Saskatchewan have the largest production in the country.
The benefits of natural gas for the trucking industry
An economic choice
Unlike diesel, the price of natural gas varies very little and costs less than regular fuel. Such a gap between gaseous hydrocarbons and more traditional fuels can lead to significant savings for transport companies, especially for long-term use.
Ease of use
An engine using natural gas is less noisy and less odorous than a diesel engine. These advantages can have a positive impact on truckers since they experience less discomfort than when driving a truck with an ordinary engine.
Moreover, trucks using these new fuels have improved longevity and greater driving autonomy. Essentially, the engine and engine oil are hardly tainted by natural gas since it is low in pollutants and therefore much easier to maintain.
A leap forward for the environment
A natural gas engine emits up to 25% less greenhouse gas (GHG) than a diesel engine. In addition, it is the first engine to meet an environmental standard that does not exceed an emission of 0.02 grams of oxides per unit per hour. Finally, it reduces fine particle emissions that contribute to smog by 97%.
Opting for a truck with a gaseous hydrocarbon engine is a real benefit from every point of view, be it economic, environmental or comfortability. Soon, multi-fuel stations will emerge, making it much easier and more accessible to replenish natural gas throughout Quebec.
However, the replacement of truck fleets cannot be done all at once, since the costs associated with modifying vehicles can be high. As such, changes will take place gradually and you will soon see the first vehicles on the country’s roads.
If you have questions about the transportation of goods in Quebec, the rest of Canada or the United States, do not hesitate to contact Transport Econo Nord.