LPG is one of the energy sources, and energy nowadays constitutes an irreplaceable factor of economic and social growth. Regardless of all benefits of energy, in its very nature it also has a strong impact on world climate.

It should be born in mind, however, that not all energy sources have the same impact on the environment.  World LP Gas Association (WLPGA) has conducted a study in which different energy sources were compared. This study proved that the use of LPG, compared with other energy sources, has significantly less impact on the environment, thus having the greenhouse gas emissions considerably reduced as well.

LPG is a very efficient energy source which burns in a clean way. It also presents a vital energy source for hundreds of million people around the world. LPG is a modern and safe energy source suitable for both urban and rural population. LPG can be used anywhere without requiring major technology and infrastructure investments. It can also be transported, stored and used in any place in the world. What is most important, the LPG reserves are sufficient to last for many decades. Nowadays, when the goal of each country is to reduce as much greenhouse gas emissions as possible, the WLPGA study mentioned above proves that LPG has lower emissions than other fossil fuels, diesel, light distillate oil and electricity based on energy equivalents.

LPG can be combined with many other types of “green” energy sources such as for example electricity generated by wind power plants, photovoltaic cells, it is particularly efficient when combined with solar collectors and it can be combined with thermal water or even heat exchangers. This is exactly where I see the possibility for future LPG market development.

And where does Serbia fit in all this?

Serbia is one of the CEFTA member states with the most developed car gas market. The potential development of other segments of LPG consumption in Serbia depends on the speed and dynamics with which the country will modify its legislation having been in force unchanged since 1970s and thus presenting a big obstacle to successful market development. And it is exactly the LPG use that would additionally reduce the greenhouse gas emissions primarily in the heating sector…

This is why the true energetic potential of Serbia definitely lies in the green energy segments.

On annual basis, the average value of global radiation energy for the territory of the Republic of Serbia amounts to 1,200 kWh/m²/year in the northwest Serbia, up to  1,550 kWh/m²/year in the southeast Serbia, whereas in its central part it amounts to about 1,400 kWh/m²/year. The degree of the use of radiation depends on the properties of built-in heat receptor, therefore it is possible to accept the average value of available useful energy in the Republic of Serbia of approximately 700 kWh/m2 year.

According to the 2002 census, there are about 2.5 million households in the Republic of Serbia. If, on the average, every fifth household installed a 4 m2 solar receptor, about 1,750 GWh/year of heat energy would be generated on annual basis which would in most part replace electric power, and partly also fossil fuels used for heating the sanitary water, thus automatically enabling the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for 2.3 million tonnes per year. The energy emitted from the sun onto 1 m² of the roof in Serbia equals the energy generated by burning 130 litres of oil – whereby it is completely free (*source www.greenenergy.rs).

Additionally, Serbia has a huge potential for the construction of small hydro-electric power plants. Should preferential purchase prices of electricity encourage investments, it would be possible to generate even 4,7% of the total electricity demands in Serbia, or 15 % of the total production of all hydro-electric power plants. The quantity of potentially generated electricity amounts to 0,4 million tonnes of equivalent oil. According to plans until 2012, as much as 45 MW of installed power in small hydro-electric power plants should be built in Serbia, with the total value of investments ranging between 76 and 90 million EUR.

According to its geothermal source, Serbia belongs to richest countries. The value of heat flux density in most parts of its territory is above average values for the continental part of Europe. The highest values are in the Pannonian part (more than 100 mW/m2), Serbian – Macedonian mountain range and the border part of the Dinaride. On the territories outside the Pannonian pool, there are more than 160 thermal springs with water temperature above 15°C.

The forests in Serbia occupy about 2 million hectares, whereby 50 percent is state owned, and the rest is privately owned. This makes about 26 % of the total Serbian area (a significantly less potential compared to the neighbouring countries). It is also the fact that Serbia has about 200 millions of cubic metres of forest – mostly bogue, oak and poplar tree, whereby households use about a million of cubic metres of wood per year for heating.

It is exactly in this sector that investments of about one billion EUR are expected within next five years. This primarily refers to wind power plants for which in the course of this year six permits were obtained, as well as small hydro-electric power plants for the construction of which even thirty permits have been obtained. Until the end of 2012 (compared to 2007) a 7,5% increase in the share of renewable sources in the electricity production is expected, meaning that in 2012 the renewable energy sources should generate as much as 735 million kilo watt hours of electricity in Serbia, which is sufficient for annual demands of almost 175,000 households (considering the fact that the average monthly electricity consumption in an average Serbian household amounts to about 350 kilo watt hours). What is particularly interesting to the investors though is the fact that in Serbia, the construction of energetic facilities with less than 1 MW power does not require an energy permit, and they also intend to reduce administrative obstacles for obtaining permits for renewable energy sources for which energy permits are required, with the overall purpose to additionally stimulate investments in Serbia pertaining to this field.

All of the above mentioned present Serbian potentials in the field of energetics and they additionally present possibilities for further development of LPG market both in Serbia and in the wider region. Serbia can play a significant role as leader in renewable energy sources development, due to the fact that it possesses a wide knowledge basis, which (besides capital investments) presents a strong potential for the future.

All of the aforestated present the reasons why it pays to come to the 7th International LPG Conference and Exhibition of the CEFTA Member States in Belgrade from 17 – 19 November 2010, for we shall keep up with the trend as usual.

Belgrade itself has not changed much since last year – it is still the city which offers the best possibilities for fun in Europe…

For the Organizing Committee:
Matjaž Burger

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