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The road to the future: SPT Nordic Conference explores fuels transition

The first ever SPT Nordic Conference brought professionals from the Scandinavian forecourt sector to Stockholm to exchange products and ideas while discussing the growing importance of alternative fuels.

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On March 14, in a cold Stockholm covered by snow, around 180 Nordic industry professionals got together for a one-day event that included a comprehensive conference program, a small exhibition and a joint dinner. After organizing the Swedish-focused ‘SPT Branschdagarna’ for several years, the Scandinavian Petroleum Technic Association (SPT) decided to “broaden the concept and to create something which would attract a wider audience.” This year’s event included speakers from various Scandinavian countries with presentations in English and Swedish.

“We are happy because we see that different people are here. The plan is to bring the event to different Nordic countries. We have to see what kind of feedback we get from attendees and exhibitors,” said and Jan-Erik Lindström, Secretary General of SPT during the event.

The progressive mentality that characterizes Nordic countries could be felt at the event as the subject of alternative fuels took the centre stage.

Mattias Goldmann, from the think-tank Fores, kicked-off the conference program by providing an overview of the different energy transitions that Scandinavian countries are embarking on. Norway has become the world leader in electro mobility with heavy taxes imposed on combustion engine vehicles. Finland is making the most of its extensive forestry industry to produce liquid biofuels and is pushing European Union regulations in that direction.  

After seeing its fast rising electric vehicle market plummet due to the scrapping of government incentives, Denmark has taken a more conservative and wide approach to the fuels transition than its Nordic neighbours.

Sweden, on its part, currently has the toughest climate regulation in the world and is the leader in mixing all forms of alternatives fuels, from a thriving biofuels industry largely based on hydrated vegetable oil (HVO) to a strong electric vehicle market.

Ulf Svahn (SPBI), Jacob Stahl Otte (EOF) and Inger Lise Nøstvik (Drivkraft Norge), leading figures of trade associations from Sweden, Denmark and Norway, respectively, discussed the different national action plans for car incentives, biofuel quotas and fuelling trends. All three parts agreed that more needed to come from the European Union and that government action was key to the success of any new form of fuelling.

Other presentations included Björn Aronsson, Vätgas Sverige, discussing the benefits of hydrogen fuelling, a presentation on world demographics by Gapminded, and Anders Norén, from the Swedish car manufacturers’ association Bil Sweden.

“To reach climate targets we have to increase the efficiency of vehicles, increase the share of biofuels, and continue to develop new technology such as electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars,” explained Norén.

The SPT team will now decide if they continue with this Nordic format, which would take place every two years and would likely move to different cities such as Oslo and Copenhagen, or go back to the former model.

“My gut tells me we will continue with the SPT Nordic Conference,” concluded Niklas Nagorny, Deputy Secretary General at SPT, at the end of night.

At the event, SPT and the UK’s Association for Petroleum and Explosives Administration (APEA) announced a new cooperation agreement that will see the two associations tie links to enforce training and education for forecourt professionals in Britain and Scandinavia.

*PetrolPlaza will soon publish extended video interviews with Mattias Goldmann and Björn Aronsson as well as short clips with attendees and exhibitors.

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