31 May 2023
Over 200 French organisations call for biomethane in CO2 regulation
European climate ambitions have moved rapidly in recent years, and the imperative to make effective changes for a green future remains. However, these goals will be difficult to reach if we do not carefully consider all options available to us in our journey towards carbon neutrality. This is why over 200 organisations in France have released an open letter to the European Commission defending the inclusion of biomethane in its proposal for a CO2 regulation for heavy duty road transport.
This sector is of extreme importance for supply chains in Europe, but it also presents a challenge, as heavy-duty vehicles will require a broader range of decarbonisation solutions than light transport. To fulfil these, it will not be enough to simply put all of our eggs in one basket. Instead, we must ensure that relevant policy allows for a variety of technological solutions. Not only should they be given space to exist alongside alternative fuels, but they should each also be sufficiently supported to a scale where they will make the most impact in decarbonising the road.
Biomethane is one such solution which is currently not being considered in the Commission’s CO2 regulation. Despite being renewable, the decision to measure biomethane emissions from the tailpipe means that it will be classed unfavourably. This disincentivises a fuel which is already compatible with current gas infrastructure and whose operators are already trained and familiar with the technology, thus missing out on a readily deployable solution. This would not be the case if the Commission measured biomethane technologies with a more complete well-to-wheel, or lifecycle, approach with respect to their carbon emissions, taking account all those involved in each part of the process instead of simply at the end.
To incentivise this would greatly boost our efforts towards the goal of decarbonising the transport sector, for biomethane would enjoy vast support as another renewable tool in the toolkit. This scaling up of production and distribution for use in current infrastructure would especially benefit those sectors where other options cannot be easily or currently employed, providing an additional option for such players to stay in the game while still pursuing decarbonisation. It would also constitute an easy transition as fleet operators and consumers are already trained, familiar, and applying best practice with the infrastructure currently available. The distinction is no different from the similar scaling that needs to happen with hydrogen and electricity before those options become widely used, yet again, biomethane has not been considered because it is measured at the tailpipe instead of throughout the entire process.
By including biomethane, Europe could take an easy, yet significant, step forward in the pursuit of its climate targets. As such, we call on the European Commission to take this step with us in addition to the other renewable sources that it is incentivising, by measuring carbon emissions through an analysis of entire systems. Let’s take advantage of biomethane’s carbon neutrality to make immediate reductions in those emissions and ensure that we stay on track to meet our goals.
Heavy Mobilities Director, Engie
Board Member, NGVA Europe