National Petroleum Preysal, the service station of the future

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Business



Drivers line up in front of the petrol pumps at the NP solar station in Preysal. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

When the National Petroleum (NP) Preysal gas station on Rivulet Road in Couva opened in September, it was hailed as the best gas station in the English-speaking Caribbean by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries. , Stuart Young.

The 65,000 square foot facility with filling points for CNG, gasoline and an electric vehicle charging station may well be the gas station of the future in Trinidad and Tobago.

The state-of-the-art and new to industry site built off the Solomon Hochoy Highway, if it continues to be successful, is not only a supplier of fossil fuels as well as clean, renewable fuel for vehicles, but with a A 320-panel solar array providing clean, renewable electricity to the station 24/7, it could also serve as a rubric for how most of TT’s power stations are now built.

The new power plant

The new filling station has 20 filling points – ten for liquid, premium, super and diesel fuels, and ten for CNG.

The station also has an electric charging station that could charge an electric vehicle (EV) up to 80%, in about 20 minutes. Curtis Mohammed, chairman of NGC CNG Company Limited and vice chairman of sustainable energy development at the National Energy Corporation (NEC), said the station was the brainchild of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC ), which was supported and developed with the help of NP, NEC and the government.

Belec’s engineering director, Dominic Nicholas, charges an electric car at the recharging site of the solar-powered NP station in Preysal. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

“In and around 2017 it was discussed that we should do something with this site and something that would make sense,” Mohammed told Business Day during a tour of the station recently.

“NGC CNG thought this would be a good site for a gas station with a difference. This station should have everything we need depending on where we are going as a nation. This is the concept in which it was created. We have had discussions with the Ministry of Energy and have received formal instructions to proceed and build a gas station on the site.

While the station was intended to be a flagship station for NGC, Mohammed said it would also focus on providing alternative energy, especially in light of the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. .

“CNG is an alternative energy for the TT. But it could also be a normal station. That was the instruction given to NGC, and that is what we set out to do. “

In order to build a different service station, NGC enlisted the services of NEC to provide the station itself with an alternative energy source. The company, through contractor Belec Power and Engineering Solutions, was able to install 320 solar panels, which power the charging station for electric vehicles, canopy lighting, convenience store lighting and the peripheral lighting and liquid fuel dispensers for premium, super and diesel products.

A gas station attendant oversees the filling of a car at a CNG pump at the solar-powered NP station in Preysal. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

NP built the site which includes the fuel forecourt and the QuickShoppe convenience store.

Power per hour

Perhaps the most popular feature of the station is its power source, the 320 solar panels located at the top of the building. NGC and NEC officials said the panels provide a “significant” amount of energy.

NEC director Bobby Thomas, who was in charge of the installation, told Business Day that solar panels have a capacity to deliver 100 kilowatts of electricity per hour.

“We have a system with 320 panels that provides 315 watts of power per hour. When you do the math, you get 100 kW / h, ”he said.

Thomas added that the building was also equipped with a back-up power system that provides up to 24 hours of power.

From left to right, Bobby Thomas, Acting Director of Engineering Designs and Technical Services at the National Energy Company, Curtis Mohommed, Chairman NGC CNG, Winston Boodoo, Managing Director of Belec Power and Energy Solutions Ltd, and Dominic Winston, Director of Engineering of Belec, stand next to solar panels mounted on the roof of the NP petrol station in Preysal. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Winston Boodoo, general manager of Belec and chief engineer of the station, explained that the panels only need a small amount of light to generate power, so even on a rainy day the panels will continue to show. function. He added that the electricity production itself far exceeds the amount of electricity used by the station.

“We generate a power of 100 kw / h. The gas station itself uses 15 kw / h of power, ”Boodoo said. “We have a battery storage system to take into account for night and bad weather. “

Solar power also powers the EV charging station with direct current, which Mohammed said increases the charging station’s ability to charge EV batteries.

He added that the station also has a feature that no other gas station, or any other company elsewhere in the country has – a license to distribute electricity.

“First and foremost, we cannot sell electricity,” Mohammed said. “TTEC (Trinidad & Tobago Electricity Corporation) is the only company authorized by law to sell kilowatt hours. This electric charging station has something here that nowhere else in TT. He has a license. This is the first time in TT’s history that a solar power production license has been issued by the Department of Utilities and TTEC for such an agreement.

Mohammed said using solar panels saves the station money.

“With this system in place, it would only need a certain amount (of energy),” he said. “So basically what’s going on here is the station operator is saving money on TTEC, but he’ll pay us the difference because we’re providing him with electricity. “

A pilot project

Being the first such service station in the TT, NGC and NEC officials said the station was being watched to include some of its features in others.

“This is part of NEC’s understanding of the renewable energy paradigm with commercial application,” Mohammed said. “We will learn from it and it will be reflected in how we do the rest of our work. “

“It was meant to be a first step into what could be and it could inform the process for other locations.”

An electric charge pump at the NP solar station in Preysal. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

NP said the Preysal site supports its strategic goals to improve the customer experience and expand its brand, but expanding the retail network will depend on the government.

“If such an extension is contemplated, NP will first need to identify suitable sites that are in line with the changing needs of the country and the government’s road improvement plans. In addition, approval from the MEEI (Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries) must also be obtained. for all new sites in the industry, ”he said.

Thomas said there were several features, especially solar panels, which could be installed at multiple gas stations. As the world moves away from fossil fuels, Thomas said solar power can be the primary source of energy for many buildings.

The companies are monitoring the progress of the Presyal station, however.

Mohammed said the station had a success rate, as it was built near a highway and could serve as a focal point for commuters and may have attracted customers from other stations.

“When the station first opened, people were saying this is what they expect to see when they go overseas,” Mohammed said. “We are very happy that the vision that we had and that was shared with our colleagues at NP has unfolded like this. “


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