Members’ Bulletin test Robin
17 January 2019
NGVA Europe calls upon the European Council to follow the European Parliament and consider the role of natural and renewable gas to start decarbonizing the heavy-duty transport sector from today on.
The Environment Ministers will discuss the proposed regulation to set CO2 emission standards for trucks and buses in the European Council on 20 December 2018.
Deep transformation of the mobility model
Looking to the road transport, we are facing a deep transformation of the mobility model. It is moving from a matchup between conventional fuels and engines to a more composite system: electrification will integrate conventional engines and fuels will progressively include more renewable energy sources.
Concerning our sector, we are talking specifically about renewable gas from biogenic recycled sources and synthetic processes, which is a great example of the circular economy model. Measuring progress in vehicle efficiency and assessing the impact in terms of net greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental.
New technologies, new metrics needed
In order to assess the impact of these solutions, CO2 emissions will have to be measured on the so called Well-to-Wheel (WtW) basis. Concerning renewable gas, the overall reduction of bio-CNG and bio-LNG is between 80% and 95% compared to conventional fuels on WtW basis.
When producing biomethane from wet liquid manure, the reduction of CO2 can even go up to 182%. This means, that the use of such a kind of biomethane provides a negative overall CO2 balance (we capture and convert methane that should have released to the atmosphere). This is a powerful way to accelerate the decarbonization process.
Nevertheless, only looking to CO2 tailpipe emissions, natural gas (for heavy-duty vehicles) provides a reduction up to 12% compared to Diesel, and going up to 20% with the new engine solutions based on high pressure direct injection systems.
Benefits to the transport sector
Over the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and the environmental performance, load capacity, vehicle range, reliability and durability of the technologies are fundamental parameters that have to be considered.
The transition to alternative powertrains for the heavy-duty sector is quite complex as the need in storing high amount of energy on board is fundamental. Replacing the equivalent energy of 100 litres of Diesel fuel would require approximately 3,5 t Li-ion batteries (according to a battery energy density of 280 Wh/kg).
Looking to natural gas, the ratio of volumetric energy density (kJ/l) between Diesel and CNG (200 bar) is 4,5 while between Diesel and LNG is 1,6. This explains why CNG and LNG together cover both urban-suburban missions and long distance.
Natural gas technologies and the fuel distribution infrastructures are already fully compatible to renewable gas. This will enable a flexible transition according to the different Member States capability in producing and distributing bio-CNG and bio-LNG for the sector.
The European Parliament already decided to complement the tailpipe emissions approach: by introducing the contribution from renewable gas by calling upon the European Commission to develop a methodology by the end of 2020 to include the CO2 emissions reduction effect from bio-CNG and bio-LNG in the computation of the average fleet emissions.
NGVA Europe is confident that the European Council will follow the European Parliament to understand and support the proposal to maintain an open scenario also for renewable gas looking to the challenging transformation this incoming Regulation will generate on the heavy-duty sector.
You can download this press release here.