Uniper, Echo to Build LNG Filling Stations
Uniper’s LNG filling-station subsidiary Liqvis is planning to merge with the much larger Echo Tankstellen to expand the LNG filling station network in Germany, the German utility said February 7. Echo already owns 1,000 conventional filling stations, trading under the Esso brand, and wants to add LNG to the portfolio of its German network; while Liqvis will have six by the end of this year, one of which is open.
Selected sites operated by Echo are under initial consideration for this purpose. Subject to approval by the regulatory authorities, the first joint site will be the Esso truck stop in Seligweiler near Ulm, which is operated by Hotel & Rasthaus Seligweiler.
A joint project group will then discuss where to build further LNG filling stations. The companies aim to establish LNG on the market as an alternative fuel for heavy goods vehicles and to help develop the associated infrastructure into a closed network.
Liqvis CEO Silvano Calcagno said the Ulm Seligweiler service area was an ideal site because it is directly on the A9 transit route and is already used extensively by heavy goods vehicles.
There is limited competition but last December, Novatek launched its first LNG filling station in Rostock, Germany. It said it was its plan to build a network of stations in Germany and Poland within the next few years at the key transport connecting points. As a major producer of LNG, Novatek is creating demand for its output in a sector that cannot be challenged by batteries: heavy duty vehicles.