August 2009 - Article Prins Autogas UK



LPG specialist's touring car plan


A SOUTHAMPTON-based company, official Prins importer in UK, is turning up the pressure to make motor racing greener – with the aim of having an LPG-fuelled car in next year’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). And a sign of its intentions is the LPG-fuelled Honda Civic Type-R pictured, now seen on the streets of Hampshire.

Prins Autogas UK, which also has a branch in Wolverhampton, serves a network of 40 approved dealers for fitting its conversions for petrol-fuelled cars and vans to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Advantages are that the gas costs half as much as petrol and is much more environmentally friendly with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduced by 15-20 per cent.

But now Wheels can reveal that Prins is in talks with three BTCC teams. That is in addition to ongoing discussions with several car manufacturers with the aim of the conversions being fitted on the vehicle production line as original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Prins commercial director Will Putter, who has already overseen a conversion for a 12-cylinder Bentley Continental GT – as road-tested for Wheels – said his latest guinea pig, the hot Honda, was a show car of what was possible. He said: “There is a misconception that performance cars running on gas lose performance – I want to dispel this myth and show that, if anything, they can be more powerful as well as cleaner. “We are not just matching power output but increasing it because of LPG's high octane rating. “This Honda helps to show the viability of LPG as a performance option that can make truly competitive racing greener.

“Our business is growing fast – we took on new staff last week – but the touring car championship will be a great shop window, seen by millions on TV as well as at the circuits. Race regulations are not a problem – our system has been raced an old-type Civic type R back in 2004 BTCC and then a Peugeot 307 in the 2005 BTTC.

“And in cost terms it’s not expensive on road or track – about £1,500 for a four-cylinder road car conversion which, with the cost of fuel, can be recouped fairly quickly.” He added that the latest technology, including an online database for every vehicle converted, also helped to enhance vehicle value retention with full warranty and technical support.

As for the hot Honda in racy vinyls, I found that this latest 198bhp Type R Championship White went like a train with the V-Tec engine revving as freely as ever with extra power channeling in as the rev counter passed 6,000rpm and headed for the 8,000rpm red line. With the only weight difference being the fully crash-tested gas tank in the spare wheel well, the hot hatch good for close on 150mph handled like a dream, with the bucket seats really appreciated.

June 2009 - press release UKLPG


LPG-powered vehicles increases by more than a third in a year

The number of motors being converted to run on LPG increased by 36 percent last year bringing the total of LPG-fuelled vehicles on Britain’s roads to over 155,000.

Following the government’s commitment on fuel duty for the next five years and with petrol forecourt prices expected to rise, industry trade body UKLPG, says more fleet managers are making the switch to the clean fuel.

According to research carried out by the Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO), 60% of businesses intend to include green vehicles within their fleets over the next three years.

Autogas Manager, Mike Chapman, said “With the growing need for businesses to keep costs and emissions down, LPG autogas is now a very attractive option to fleets.

“LPG costs around half the price of petrol at the forecourt, and although you do get less miles to the gallon on LPG compared to petrol, it works out at a saving of around 40% on fuel costs.”

LPG autogas is currently one of the cleanest fuels on the market. Independent tests have shown that running on LPG autogas produces 20% less CO2 than petrol, and when compared with diesel, 2% less CO2, 20 times less Nox and 120 times less harmful particulates.

It is available at over 1400 refuelling stations in the UK making it by far the most readily available alternative fuel.

One LPG customer, Glenn Ewen, the fleet manager at Clear Channel Outdoor UK added: “I believe that LPG has a strong future, especially as petrol fuel prices continue to fluctuate widely. LPG remains more consistent and helps reduce our fuel costs. However, the biggest benefit remains that it is so much cleaner which is core to our company’s strong sustainability commitments.”

Clear Channel Outdoor UK is one of the UK’s top 50 Green Companies, according to the Sunday Times Green List, and operates a fleet of 530 vehicles, of which 370 are light commercial vehicles and the remainder are cars. It has now been using LPG autogas since 1997 and in that time has dramatically reduced its fuel costs and CO2 emissions.

Prior to the fleet moving to LPG autogas, Clear Channel’s fleet was travelling 14 million miles per annum, producing an estimated 4,990 tonnes of CO2 yearly and emitting large quantities of nitrous oxide and particulates.

By 2008 the total vehicle mileage had been reduced by 4.75 million miles per annum, CO2 was reduced by 1,760 tonnes per year and were saving £200,000 per annum on fuel costs and London Congestion Charges.

June 2009 - article Daily Echo

Supercar smile!

Fuel prices are romping up again, and never mind whose fault it is, the users carry the can. And if you’re a big user, whether through mileage or your vehicle’s consumption, it hurts more when petrol’s topping £1 a litre and rising. But there is an answer – a conversion to liquid petroleum gas or LPG, which is a half the cost of petrol, gives virtually identical performance but will cut tour fuel bill by about 40 per cent. Better still it’s greener than petrol or diesel, with lower emissions and far fewer particulates.

It’s a proven boon for the likes of motorhomes and commercial vehicles, and catching on fast with a growing number of car owners. Conversion costs from around £1,500 plus VAT for a four-cylinder car, rising to around £4,500 all-in for a bespoke conversion of a 12-cylinder twin turbo 6.0 litre Bentley Continental GT, a 200mph supercar, as pictured.

A market leader for the conversions is Southampton-based Prins Autogas UK at West Quay which supplies the conversion equipment and trains technicians for a nationwide network of installers who usually take three or four days to carry out the conversion, with the installation of safety-tested LPG tank – often fitted in the spare wheel well – which enhances the car’s range. The car starts on petrol and automatically switches to LPG after a couple of minutes. Run out of gas and it automatically switches back to petrol with just a bleep to inform you – you wouldn’t know otherwise and there’s certainly no noticeable reduction in performance.

Due to the high quality of the system Prins Autogas UK are working with manufacturers to develop factory-fit LPG systems and also develop congestion charge exempt vehicles in their own emissions lab in Southampton.

The company also offers finance on its conversions with £300 deposit and monthly repayments that can match your fuel bill saving.

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May 2008 - article NGV Holland

Aardgas Mobiel to endorse Dutch NGV industry in three-steps strategy

Today, the Dutch NGV industry is “on the move”. One of the main supporters is Aardgas Mobiel, a coalition made up by all parties interested in automotives, fuelling stations, NG distribution, and other stakeholders. It carries out nationwide and regional (provincial, district) marketing activities in order to lobby the national and provincial government, as well as the municipalities.

Download the complete article of NGV Holland May 2008

April 2004 By the Way / TNO Automotive

Comparison of automotive fuels on the complete emission spectrum

Just how do various fuels compare in terms of their emissions and impact on the Environment? In an update of a study first performed in 1993, TNO Automotive, in collaboration with TNO Environment, Energy and Process Innovation, last year completed a project to measure and evaluate the complete exhaust emission spectrum of modern passenger cars. This was done for petrol, diesel, automotive LPG and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).

TNO Automotive was one of the four European test laboratories involved in an extensive measurement programme to assess and compare the complete exhaust emission spectrum for vehicles on different fuels under realistic driving conditions. In addition to the regulated components, this spectrum included a long list of unregulated components that have an impact on climate, environment and human health. An update of the earlier study was deemed useful given the technical progress made in conventional cars. Tightening emission legislation and the ongoing debate on the role that LPG and CNG can play in policies to mitigate urban air quality problems, global warming and other environmental problems have been the main drivers in this respect.

The Dutch programme: added dimensions
The test programme carried out by TNO Automotive contained a number of additional elements to the European-wide project. These include the measurement of more unregulated components, testing CNG vehicles and measuring the effects of a 9°C cold start.

The evaluation of results included a comparison of the potential contributions of measured emissions to a range of environmental and health impacts. There was also a statistical evaluation of the significance of differences found in the comparison between fuels along with an assessment of the impact of incorporating the “well-to-tank” emissions of the different fuel chains in the comparison.

Of 28 modern cars, including 7 OEM-equipped LPG vehicles and 3 OEM-equipped CNG vehicles, a total of 80 regulated and unregulated emission components were measured using the certification tests cycle and the Common Artemis Driving Cycle (CADC).

The latter is the de facto standard among European research institutes for generating real-world passenger-car emission data. In total the Dutch programme yielded some 6,000 measurement results.

To ensure that the comparison was relevant, comprehensive and consistent the emission data were averaged for the different fuels and translated to relative scores concerning their potential contribution to climatic, environmental and health impacts for three different driving profiles:
· the local driver (urban traffic with a cold start at 9°C),
· the business driver (urban, rural and highway traffic with a fully warmed-up engine),
· the average driver (weighted average of different cycle parts and cold start emissions,
as representative for the Dutch situation).

Results and recommendations
On the type approval cycle the emissions of most petrol, LPG and CNG vehicles were found to be already below the Euro 4 limit values, while the NOx and particulate emissions of diesels are only just below the Euro 3 limit values. The outcome of the comparison of real-world impact differs according to different driver profiles. Overall, petrol vehicles revealed a lower potential impact than diesel vehicles on human health and environment, while diesel has lower greenhouse gas emissions. The gas-fuelled vehicles were found to combine, to some extent, the advantages of petrol and diesel, with CNG having the lowest overall impact potential. The additional technical assessments performed by TNO suggest that a particulate filter on diesel vehicles does offer good prospects to significantly reduce particulate emissions, but further research of emissions during regeneration of the filter will follow.

One of the Dutch recommendations suggests that LPG and CNG vehicle manufacturers should consider implementing a cold start strategy on the gaseous fuel itself (instead of on petrol) to take better advantage of the favourable characteristics of gaseous fuels for the local situation. Also, it was recommended that the impact of the -7°C test in the type approval procedure should be monitored to examine to what extent this improves the emission behaviour at real-world driving conditions and ambient temperatures.

The basic test programme was financed by the European Autogas Industry and named the European warm Start Test Programme (EETP). The Dutch component had its own sponsors, in the Dutch Ministry of Environment, the Dutch LPG association (VVG) and NGV-Holland, the Dutch association for natural gas fuelled vehicles.

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