‘Smart’ fuel station serves as example
By Valery Sidorov
This fuelling station is located at the entrance to Gomel (if driving from the Russian Federation) and hardly differs from its ‘counterparts’ in appearance. However, its functions are certainly different from those in other fuelling stations countrywide.
Solar power is being used to provide electricity at the fuelling station; 44 photo panels are to generate 10-12kW/h — depending on the weather. Only 4-5kW are needed daily, so any surplus will be supplied to the city network. Heating and hot water are being supplied by an economical ‘air-water’ heat pump, which works in an opposite way to a refrigerator, using warmth from the surrounding air — even in temperatures below zero. Its gas coolant warms water in pipes and ‘smart’ LCD lamps with motion sensors are installed, saving half the power at night, when fewer cars visit.
According to specialists, the new eco-fuelling station in Gomel is to act as a prototype model for other Belorusneft stations (over 500 in total). Belorusneft boasts the most extensive network in the country, selling over 70 percent of fuel countrywide.
Although it boasts technically advanced novelties, its staff is standard. “As everything is automated, there’s been no need for particular training,” notes Alexey Ignatovich, who heads the section. Displays show the work of equipment, so refuelling is even easier than at ‘traditional’ fuelling stations.
According to representatives of Belorusneft Production Association, the station is a pilot for future sites; two similar fuelling stations are to be built either side of the M-3 Minsk-Vitebsk motorway, near the village of Silichi. Drivers are clearly pleased to see improvements. Middle-aged Vasily tells us, “Of course, it would be nice to see a fall in fuel prices too.” Sadly, it seems unlikely at present but who knows what the future holds.