Engie, SANEF & Ceva launch alternative energy truck infrastructure JV
Energy group Engie has formed a joint venture with logistics provider Ceva Logistics and French motorway management company SANEF to build and operate a network of refuelling and charging stations for hydrogen, biogas and electric trucks along European motorways.
All three joint venture partners are players with headquarters in France. The fact that the project is not only to be realised in their home country, but on a European level, is already manifested by the trio in the naming of the joint venture, which will operate under the name European Clean Transport Network Alliance, or ECTN Alliance for short. In the long term, the network is to be “open to all shippers and freight forwarders and include an IT solution that enables transport companies to plan their routes and loading plans quickly and efficiently”, the joint venture partners announced.
The initiators call the idea of establishing “a network of terminals with refuelling and charging stations for hydrogen, biogas and electric trucks” “unprecedented”. According to Luc Nadal, Regional Managing Director for Europe at Ceva Logistics, the ECTN alliance is based on a pioneering, holistic approach to decarbonising long-distance truck transport. “ECTN Alliance members strongly believe that private-public alliances have a key role to play in accelerating climate solutions. The ECTN Alliance is based on a pioneering, holistic approach to decarbonizing long-haul trucking. We are proud to launch this bold initiative with best-in-class companies, whose combined expertise will contribute to the success of the project.”
In addition to different fuels, the concept also aims at a trailer-changing system. Thus, the trailers with the cargo of goods are to be pulled by different vehicles that always shuttle in a defined area. The changeover will take place at the terminals. Among other things, this is intended to improve the working conditions of long-distance drivers by “keeping them closer to home”.
As a first step, Engie, Ceva Logistics and SANEF now want to initiate a feasibility study and demonstrate that the concept works in a “proof of concept” between Lille and Avignon in France. According to the trio, the two-year demonstration project will start before the end of 2023 – with 20 tractor units powered by biogas, electric propulsion and green hydrogen transporting 20 trailers a day between the north and south-east of France. The trailers will be changed at five existing Ceva Logistics sites.
“Local carriers will carry out the pre- and post-carriage transport to and from the test sites. The POC is expected to provide a rich database for an in-depth understanding of low-carbon truck use for long-distance haulage and options for decarbonizing road freight transport in Europe,” the partners conclude.