Danish delegation curious to learn about sailing on CNG


A delegation from the energy-neutral Danish island Samsø was given the opportunity to have a look at the new CNG filling station for the Texel ferry service TESO. PitPoint, as a supplier of know-how and filling solutions, was naturally present.

CNG (Compressed Natural Gas, or natural gas under pressure) is a clean fuel. PitPoint works hard to make this fuel and other alternative fuels available to the automotive- and shipping industry and meanwhile manages around 100 filling stations to that end. PitPoint conducted a feasibility study for TESO concerning the new ferry Texelstroom in which diesel, LNG and CNG were compared. The conclusion was that CNG (and possibly a future biomethane variation) is the best option for making TESO sustainable.

Feasibility study into clean fuels

PitPoint, Gasunie, Umoe Advanced Composites from Norway and a delegation from Denmark of the energy-neutral island Samsø gathered together on Texel to exchange their knowledge regarding CNG and biomethane. TESO’s ferryboat the Texelstroom will not be the first, but soon be the only ferry in the world that will sail using the relatively sustainable and extremely clean fuel CNG. “In the course of time, TESO wants to extinct allblack fumes generated by its ferry boats and intends to start with the Texelstroom”, explains Erik Büthker of PitPoint Clean Fuels. “To that end, we conducted a feasibility study into possible fuels and CNG proved to be the best option.”

Gas transport via pipelines, not tankers

During this phase, PitPoint accomplished the entire engineering, construction and exploitation of the CNG-bunker station that was carefully designed to fit into the landscape of Texel. The supply of gas runs through a seven kilometre long underground gas pipeline so that no tankers are required to bring the fuel to the island. “Particularly the fact that CNG can be transported via the existing gas network offers huge economic advantages”, says Büthker. The idea is to fuel the Texelstroom, which can eventually sail on CNG, for a period of five hours during the night.

“This is not new to us”, says Büthker. “In the past, we made it possible for tour boats in Amsterdam, cars, busses and taxi’s, to switch to this clean fuel. Particularly the fact that CNG can be transported through the gas network offers economic and logistic advantages: the filling stations or ships need not be supplied using trucks. In addition, we monitor all filling stations on-line 24/7. This enables us to prevent or quickly correct any malfunctions, should these occur.”

International co-operation

Safety not only comes first at PitPoint, but also at all of the partners involved in the cooperation regarding the ‘Texelstroom’. Ole Martin Olsen of the Norwegian company Umoe Advanced Composites is proud that his organisation was chosen to supply the gas containers. “The safety aspect was the decisive factor in opting for the containers and filling stations.”

The future can be even greener

An extremely favourable aspect is the possibility that CNG offers of switching to even cleaner biomethane at a later stage without any technical changes being required. Bouke van der Velde of Gasunie explained the possibilities of this gas, also referred to as bio-gas, to the delegation. “In the future, 200 hectares of pasture on Texel with a yield of 8,500 tonnes of grass can be good for around 1,000,000 cubic metres of biomethaneevery year. This can fuel the new ferry ‘Texelstroom’ and will yield an additional 5 to 8 percent of the gas demand on Texel.”