LPG Talks - Featuring Bart van Aerle

Bart van Aerle is Vice President Strategy and product planning for Westport Fuel Systems and Vice President of Prins. He participates to the Podcast series of WLPGA named 'LPG Talks': "I am proud working in this industry by contributing to a better air quality and have people save money. We have an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution: offering a comprehensive set of LPG, CNG and LNG products and systems."

Full podcast in text:

Hello, My name is Bart van Aerle, I am Vice President, Strategy and Product Planning for Westport Fuel Systems and Vice President Prins. Prins is one of Westport Fuel Systems subsidiaries and key brands located in the Netherlands. I lead the branch in Eindhoven expanding sales of high quality LPG, CNG, and LNG systems and components for automotive and transportation vehicles worldwide. With almost 25 years of automotive industry experience I have held various leadership positions in sales and management.

I am honored to be invited to this Podcast series of the World LPG Association called LPG Talks.
Today I want to talk to you about LPG or Autogas systems, the status of technology and the future perspectives of our industry. What the influence are of regulations, incentives and the availability of renewable energy. How we can increase the market together?

Technology has changed a lot over time following the technology changes from the car manufacturers. Now, we are mainly using direct injection engine technology as well as direct injection with MPI Multipoint injection technology. The current talk is all about emission reductions and emission regulation. Euro 7 will come in place soon. Today we are at Euro 6.
Compared to gasoline and diesel fuel systems, Autogas systems have lower emissions. When we look at Well to Wheel; up to 21% CO2 emission reduction (CO2 is responsible for global heating). And up to 98% particle emission compared to gasoline (Particles are the most severe and have the most direct influence to our health). And up to 74% less NOx emission compared to diesel (NOx is responsible for smog).

Diesel has been hammered, which is to our advantage because people were typically using diesel for long distance driving. Now we are seeing that there’s a total shift again back to gasoline. This means that more consumers driving longer distances are starting to use LPG. At the moment, there are no other solutions that offer the same or more range and power, for the same investment. Converting to LPG is a great investment, double return on investment: it will benefit our planet and make money for the user.

So, the main drivers for LPG are fuel cost savings, widely availability of the fuel, relatively low investments for infrastructure, exactly the same performance as driving on gasoline, low installation costs of an LPG system, and reduced Green House Gas emissions.

Markets can grow faster when the government have a long-term vision. We have seen this in countries like Turkey, Poland, Germany and Italy. Now, they have a large market penetration rate for LPG because these governments have realized that this is a good fuel option. That it provides quickly a large benefit for the air quality and generates cost savings for the users. These governments made the right long-term strategy on taxation to encourage growth.

Westport Fuel Systems, and therefore Prins, offers a comprehensive set of LPG, CNG and LNG products and systems. We deliver systems for Carburetor engines in for example Africa and India, Multipoint injection, Direct injection and Hybrid engines, from 3 cylinders up to 16 cylinders engines. We have a system for passenger cars like Ferrari, Bentley, and Porsche up to the smaller vehicles like Fiat 500 and even three-wheeler tuk-tuks.

When new engine technology does come into the marketplace, we start developing our systems on those platforms. OEMs invest millions and millions of dollars in developing a fueling strategy for their engines because they need to meet strict regulations. We develop based on their software strategy our LPG systems including the suitable software strategy for driving on LPG that lower emissions further. Cars still need to operate at -40 degrees Celsius and also operate when it’s 80 degrees (or more) under the hood.

Governments are looking for next generation fuels, low carbon clean energy that support their clean climate goals. And I think a lot of politicians at the moment like to talk about EV’s. But they are increasingly realizing that, although this will clearly be part of the market, there is no way this can be the only solution. With the energy resources we have in the world we should determine how to use those in the most effective way . If we look at natural gas and biomethane and bio-propane we are actually carbon-negative because we capture emissions that would otherwise have been released to the atmosphere in a more harmful way.

I hope more people begin to understand LPG is a better option than Electric Vehicles for fast commercialization. The fuel is widely available, it costs less, and it delivers emission reductions. Another advantage is that we don’t have any waste materials because basically everything can be recycled. We just have a steel tank, which can be melted along with other metal parts and plastics which are recyclable. We have an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution.

Focus points now for our industry are: lobby, promotion and availability of renewable LPG or BioLPG. On short term we can convert the existing fleet and enjoy the emission reductions. Everyone is overwhelmed by all the choices that are announced and not always available. Now is our time. And regarding the renewable energy – the automotive market needs it now to compete with other renewables.

In November this year WLPGA is organizing Autogas Day again. New trends and developments are being discussed and several target groups are being addressed. Join this initiative. Together we are stronger and make bigger impact worldwide. I am proud working in this industry by contributing to a better air quality and have people save money. I will continue to say this every day!

Thank you for having me on the podcast it was my pleasure to be here.

For all LPG Podcast Series 'LPG Talks', click here.