Rolande has a clear mission: heavy haulage driving on Bio-LNG, a self-produced liquid biogas. Recently they opened its twentieth LNG fuel station, and it will open its first Bio-LNG factory in Leeuwarden eventually.
There are several big companies which already choose for the more environmentally friendly LNG-trucks. Albert Heijn already supplies its Brabantse branches with trucks that drive on the LNG of Rolande, and PostNL is also a big client of Rolande. Besides that, large companies like Unilever and Ikea, are using more and more LNG haulage. When a truck in the Netherlands drives on LNG, chances are high that the company of the truck is a client of Rolande. Meanwhile, Rolande has a total of thirteen LNG fuel stations in the Netherlands, two in Belgium and recently opened its fifth fuel station in Germany.
Rolande is very proud of that. In the last ten years Rolande has grown together with the development of LNG. “From the first manual transmission LNG-trucks with little horsepower to trucks which are competitive to the current diesel truck. And also the development of Bio-LNG: the same product, but made from organic waste, sludge, waste and manure,” says marketing director Leila Mulder of Rolande. “We really participate to the energy transition. Most of the times people talk about solar collectors and green energy, but the transport sector is also a very important issue.”
LNG is less expensive
But why would Rolande go for trucks that run on LNG, which is a fossel fuel, and not electricity or hydrogen? Jolon van der Schuit, CEO of Rolande, explains that Rolande’s biggest strength is focusing on the alternative that is both the greenest and the economically best option. “A diesel truck costs 100.000 euro, a LNG-truck costs about 20.000 to 30.000 euros more. But LNG is cheaper than diesel. When you – and the average carrier achieves that amount easily – drive 80.000 to 100.000 kilometres a year, driving a LNG-truck almost costs the same as driving a diesel truck. When you drive more kilometres, LNG is even cheaper than diesel.”
With opening twelve to fourteen new LNG-stations and eventually one of the first Bio-LNG factories in the Netherlands Rolande sets the bar high. Where LNG saves about 20 percent on CO₂-emission in comparison to diesel, self-produced Bio-LNG eliminates almost all of the CO₂-emission. Since the factory is in the Netherlands, it saves the CO₂ that usually is released on the transport of the Bio-LNG, which usually comes from abroad, such as Scandinavia. This LNG is taken from a terminal in Rotterdam. The Bio-LNG and LNG don’t have to be kept separately, as the end product of LNG and Bio-LNG is exactly the same. “Right now, about 25 percent of our LNG stock is Bio-LNG. When the Bio-LNG factory opens, it could increase up to 50 percent. In five years, we want to offer 100 percent Bio-LNG”, says Van der Schuit.
It is too early for hydrogen
It is too early for hydrogen, if you ask Van der Schuit. But he definitely sees a future in hydrogen as a fuel. “You could go for hydrogen or electricity at the moment, but then you’ll won’t get to do anything for the next ten years, because it still needs a lot of development. If you look at LNG: the product is here, the trucks are here. It’s mainly a matter of scaling up. When green hydrogen as fuel is technical possible, more profitable and most importantly, when it saves CO₂, we’ll going to work with that as well.”