Switching over to new kinds of fuel is not without technical challenges. RWR REMONDIS Wertstoff-Recycling and its subsidiary Georgi Abfalllogistik from Cologne, however, were more than happy to take on such a challenge. The result: they are currently operating several biogas-run hook-lift trucks, rear end loaders and semi-trailers to collect and transport commercial waste across the City of Cologne. Further orders have been initiated and other types of biogas-run vehicles – such as front end loaders and skip lorries – should soon be joining the fleet.
Peter Lindlar, managing director of RWR and Georgi, described the technical tasks they had to master: “Biogas-run refuse collection vehicles are not yet available off the peg, so to speak. As the user of the vehicle, we work together with the manufacturers of the chassis and superstructures and effectively develop new trucks.” While there are already a number of companies in Europe manufacturing chassis for gas-run vehicles, those producing the superstructures have first had to rethink their processes to switch from diesel to gas. And this is not simply a question of where to put the gas tank or getting the dimensions of the driver’s cab right. Providing the correct power for the hydraulic systems for the compactor and lifting equipment is not a trivial matter either.
“Biogas-run refuse collection vehicles are not yet available off the peg, so to speak. As the user of the vehicle, we work together with the manufacturers of the chassis and superstructures and effectively develop new trucks.”
Peter Lindlar, Managing Director of RWR and Georgi
Which is why REMONDIS’ company in Cologne is gradually working its way up the scale from lighter to heavier vehicles and making the most of the experience gained as it moves from one project to the next. With the adjustments that would have to be made to the superstructures and the additional performance required of the engine in mind, they began with semi-trailers and hook-lift trucks. In the meantime, they are now also using rear end loaders; front end loaders and skip lorries are in the process of being manufactured. As far as Lindlar is concerned, it’s been positive all round: “While quite a while was needed at the beginning to eradicate teething problems, the new vehicles now work perfectly and to full capacity within just a few weeks.”
An ambitious multi-partner project
A further key component of the biogas strategy drawn up by REMONDIS’ Cologne business is to supply its own biogas. A partnership between Abfallwirtschaftsbetriebe Köln GmbH (AWB), AVG Kompostierung GmbH, GVG Rhein-Erft, REMONDIS Rhineland and RheinEnergie AG has now created the basis for setting up a net zero, low-pollutant and noise-reduced refuse collection logistics system. A new biogas filling station was, for example, recently commissioned at AVG’s site in the north of Cologne. It will be supplying the vehicles owned by the participating recycling firms with the green fuel. This partnership plans to deploy around 100 commercial vehicles run on climate-neutral biogas in Cologne over the coming years.
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