We increasingly advise internationally
about sustainability for maritime- and public transport15-09-2016
PitPoint receives a growing amount of questions throughout Europe about how to prepare a re-fuelling- and electric vehicle charging infrastructure fit for a sustainable future. There is plenty of room for improvement in the area of sustainability in the maritime- and public transportation market. “We use the operational data of a re-fuelling installation in the engineering process, thereby ensuring that the next station will be designed even better.”
“We take our responsibility seriously when it co mes to preparing a new infrastructure of electric vehicle charging and sustainable re-fuelling stations,” says Jan-Theo Hoefakker, Operations Manager at PitPoint Clean Fuels. PitPoint is committed to building this clean-fuel re-fuelling infrastructure throughout Europe regardless of technology or suppliers. The company specifically chooses the role of ‘system integrator’. “We integrate various products from different suppliers in an efficient way”, says the man who co-started PitPoint and witnessed the company’s growth from five to 50 employees. It is a fragmented market which leads to sub-optimisation. The latter not being very cost-effective in general. PitPoint offers an integrated approach. When it comes to clean fuels we cover the whole chain from sourcing through asset management and retailing. We combine all in-house expertise with a hands-on approach in the beginning of a project. We only outsource work to specialised parties that can do a better job than we can.
Accelerating as system integrator
If you want to get things moving and seriously want to innovate, it is, according to Hoefakker, not only a choice but also essential to be a ‘system integrator’. “We don’t associate ourselves with just one supplier or partner; we want continuously improve and therefore we always search for the right partners. A lock-in leads to far too many product-driven solutions, and that’s not the way to convert the world to sustainable fuels”, says Hoefakker. But there is another reason why PitPoint, as a system integrator, initiates substantial projects and has experienced a rapid growth. The company invests in fuel stations and also focusses on operations, service and maintenance. All expertise combined under one roof. “As an owner of the infrastructure, we feel obliged to continuously improve our work. It’s in our own interest. Because we are connected to our technical solutions in the long term, we come up with installations that can compete with fossil fuels.”
Smart use of data
PitPoint’s proposition is basically unique. “No-one else in the market does exactly what we do. We have an unique approach in working from system design towards technical solutions.” That is partly due to the smart use of the data PitPoint gathers. “We use operational data of an installation in the engineering process and make sure that the next station we design will be even better.” PitPoint is active in several European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, and it appears the company will soon enter greenfields, such as France and Denmark. The company specialises in clean fuels, from production to retailing, and believes biomethane is an important clean fuel in the transition from fossil to sustainable. “During this transition it is all about selecting the right fuel for the right mobility purpose”, Hoefakker states. “And making sure that each selection is available and affordable”. PitPoint has its own network of fuel stations for biomethane or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) and invests in hydrogen fuel stations and in the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. The company generally doesn’t have a preference. “Getting from A to B as clean and sustainable as possible, that is our goal. We increasingly advise international clients about sustainable fuel use, including clients in the maritime- and public transport sector.”
Maritime transport: adding value through chain approach
One of the company’s priority sectors is maritime/marine transport sector. Hoefakker: “Although it might not be obvious at first sight, the maritime transport section is a huge polluter. We see opportunities for organisations active in this sector to make the transition to clean transport.” PitPoint recently took on responsibility for the entire chain of engineering, construction and exploitation of a CNG bunker station on the Dutch Island Texel for TESO, owner of the first European ferry to sail on CNG. PitPoint gained invaluable experience with this project. “We are often asked to put proposals together. There is a best practice solution within the technical prerequisites for every type of ship. We always base our solutions on operational data gained from our projects in order to deliver real added value.” PitPoint also advises harbours/ports about the sustainable possibilities clean fuels offer.
Public transport: setting an example
There are just as many possibilities in the public transport sector to become more sustainable in the short term. The public transport sector sets an example for other market areas, stresses Hoefakker. “The use of sustainable fuels in public transport is obvious. More authorities enquire about the transition to sustainable. That’s a good sign.” The electrical bus transport market is very fragmented. “As ‘charge-point operator’ PitPoint integrates systems and market operators, and that is a role that suits us well.” There is also much to be gained for authorities when it comes to waste transportation. “There is much social focus on electric transport, but for many applications – such as garbage trucks – it is not yet a viable alternative.” Several authorities look at means rather than results. According to Hoefakker, both authorities and companies should be looking at the gain of clean transportation in the coming decades. . “Until we reach zero emission, we are responsible for a significant C02 reduction. Amsterdam, for example, is fully committed to electric transportation, but in the meantime trucks and delivery vans still run on diesel while real attractive alternatives are available.” For the coming decade biomethane is a good alternative to make the transition to sustainable as ideal as possible. “There are now already enough biomethane powered vehicles with a good radius of action available. If we use them and later switch to electric, we’ll be doing ourselves and society a great favour.”