Brussels Airport has about 250 service vehicles − supplemented by 100 special vehicles such as fire engines and snow removal trucks. Since 2015, all service vehicles have been centrally managed by the Vehicle Maintenance Services (VMS) department. At the same time, it was decided to thoroughly renovate the fleet and make it more eco-friendly.
So, the airport committed to replacing its service vehicles in the short term by models that run on natural gas. By 2025, all 250 service vehicles should be running on CNG. Good for less CO2, less particulate matter, and less ground noise.
CNG versus LPG versus LNG
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is lighter than air, and so it dissipates in the event of a leak − in contrast to Liquid Petrol Gas (LPG), which is a residual product of traditional fuel production. Vehicles run farther on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), but that fuel also requires larger tanks.
International supply via Zeebrugge
CNG is imported from abroad and piped via 40,000 kilometres of gas pipelines from Eandis and Infrax to the filling stations.
Astonishing environmental performance
CNG vehicles emit 95% less particulate matter, 25% less CO2 and 50% less nitrogen than diesel vehicles.
Tested and approved
Meanwhile, almost all of the major car brands produce cars with built-in CNG tanks. Eandis has conducted a thorough analysis of the various types of CNG vehicles and uses this expertise to green the vehicle fleets of cities and municipalities.
85 CNG stations in Flanders
The Flemish government’s goal is to have 300 as quickly as possible − 1 in every municipality.
More than enough driving range
On average, with a full tank of CNG, you can drive between 350 and 500 kilometres. At Brussels Airport, that means refuelling once or twice a week.
Brussels Airport’s decision about CNG is based on an in-depth study of the current fleet and driving behaviour at the airport. Laurens Hermans, Head of Outside Infrastructure at Brussels Airport, explains: "We were assisted by Eandis, who conducted a preliminary study based on the typical use at the airport. The conclusion? CNG records the best performance in terms of cost and environmental performance. Although electric driving seems to be the future for everyone, it’s not yet feasible today. CNG is the ideal transitional fuel.”
CNG is the ideal transitional fuel
“Indeed, it’s our intention to replace all service vehicles over time,” Laurens continues. “Today, we already have 32 CNG vehicles, and we’ve ordered another 27. And because CNG is a safe fuel, the cars are allowed to drive both airside and landside.”
Dries Dennequin, Product Developer at Eandis, explains their recommendation:“In essence, it was a rationalisation of the vehicle fleet. We studied which vehicles were used most often, how far they drove on average, and which cars remained unused. All those factors led us to CNG. Moreover, the small extra cost of a CNG vehicle is recouped within a year thanks to the very low fuel price.”
The majority of the service vehicles at Brussels Airport are assigned to specific departments, but there are also 7 CNG pool cars. These vehicles are used by employees to move between the various buildings and sites at Brussels Airport. Plus, the use of the pool cars is very efficient. How do we know that? The cars no longer sit for days on our parking lot!
Laurens: “Every employee can request a ride from VMS through a handy app. You reserve a pool car with your smartphone, pass your key card over the door, and you’re on your way. And you simply refuel with your staff badge. Handy, eh?”
Dries: “We notice that users accept CNG vehicles much more quickly than electric vehicles. They feel just the same as a regular car, although they are a lot quieter and the boot is a tad smaller.”
Refuelling with a CNG vehicle is just as quick as with a traditional car. Unfortunately, there are still too few CNG filling stations today to drive around care-free. That’s why Brussels Airport decided to build a CNG filling station close to the P58 ‘Korenberg’ staff car park.
Laurens: “The commercial CNG offer is too far from the airport to be advantageous operationally. So, we chose to install a fast fill unit ourselves. The CNG station is not yet accessible to the public. There will soon be two new CNG filling stations at the airport − one with LNG and CNG at Brucargo, and the other coming later at another location. Both will be operated by a private partner.”
Dries: “That could become an especially popular filling station. The demand for CNG continues to rise, among private individuals too. We have already received a number of questions about the CNG station at the Korenberg lot from partners, private individuals and handlers.