Scania turning south africa green
Scania Southern Africa is committed to assisting customers and government departments when it comes to the importance of environmental stewardship. It’s also working towards the establishment of long-term biofuel suppliers.
Mark Templeton, key accounts manager for alternative fuels at Scania South Africa, says that Sweden (Scania’s home country) is buying waste from other countries to meet requirements to generate biogas for various sustainable projects across the country.
“We are taking the sustainable philosophy of Scania Sweden and adapting and reshaping it to suit the South African environment, thus forming the core backbone of our sustainable strategy for southern Africa,” says Templeton.
He adds that sustainability must work efficiently to make economic sense. The company is, therefore, developing biofuel solutions that meet the global carbon-reduction objectives. It is doing this using the latest Scania engine technology, which meets and exceeds its customers’ financial performance requirements, thus complying with their objectives of profitability, availability and achieving sustainability targets.
Scania South Africa is currently at the final stage of market analysis, and the company has already entered into the necessary dialogue with municipalities, fleets and key customers around various biofuel solutions.
Furthermore, to help establish and develop the local supplier base and create jobs, the company has aligned projects with various universities, thus keeping the skills within the country.
“We are looking at various biofuel solutions for the local and southern African market. The biofuel options currently being offered by Scania are: ethanol, biogas, compressed natural gas (CNG)/liquefied natural gas (LNG), biodiesel, and hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO),” says Templeton.
He adds that the distribution footprint of these products is still limited as CNG is currently available only in Gauteng and the northern Free State, with limited distribution in KwaZulu-Natal. This is expected to expand as biogas plants come on line from various sources including waste-water treatment plants and biodigestors.
Templeton notes that many municipalities have waste-water plants that can be used to generate biogas. “We are encouraging them to go the biogas route. We want to prove to them that it is sustainable and the bi-product can also be used successfully,” he says.
Jonas Strömberg, sustainability director at Scania Group, says that out of all the markets in the world with which the company has to work, South Africa has the greatest potential to support biofuels.
“South Africa has so much organic material and waste from landfills that is not being utilised. We can take this and turn it into very clean, low-carbon fuels that can be sold at a lower cost than fossil fuels,” says Ströӧmberg.
Templeton says that Scania’s Biogas/CNG Euro-6 engine solution is world class, while the new Euro-5 diesel engines can run on 100-percent biodiesel with a small added cost, and green diesel is ideal for Euro-5 and Euro-6 engines.
“Over the years, people will become more aware of the benefits of the various biofuel solutions. Accordingly, investments in local plants are likely to follow as demand increases,” explains Templeton.
Natural gas emits between 50- and 60-percent less carbon dioxide (CO₂) and advanced biodiesel emits up to 90-percent less. “South Africa has some of the dirtiest air in Africa. It is, therefore, important for our health, environment and sustainability that we switch to alternative fuels,” he adds.
The company has already introduced a CNG/biogas Euro-6 engine and biodiesel Euro-5 engines. It plans to bring more products into the country to prove that its biofuels solution works and is as economical in southern Africa as it is in Europe.
“We already have ten biogas buses running in Virginia in the Free State. These are doing very well. We also have a 100-percent biodiesel-powered waste compactor truck running in the Western Cape. This year, we will start introducing a lot more products into the country for fleet owners and major metro municipalities. These products will be suitable for bus rapid transit (BRT), inner-city buses, waste-collection and distribution trucks,” Templeton concludes.