„We are on track to reach 13 million vehicles and 12,000 fuelling stations with at least 40% biomethane by 2030“ says Andrea Gerini, Secretary General of NGVA Europe
Mr. Gerini, for our readers, tell us something about NGVA Europe. What is NGVA Europe’s vision about the role of natural gas as a transport fuel?
Europe needs to reshape the future of the transport system, and this will be based on a wide set of solutions, where clean and renewable fuels will play an essential role, even in the long term. We need to start this transformation immediately. This means that environmentally friendly transport fuels should already be broadly available today; available vehicles and existing fuelling infrastructure are key.
We at the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe) know that gas in transport is exactly this fuel and is ready to play this role. It is an affordable solution based on mature technologies that, at the same time, are extremely modern and open to highly efficient solutions, even in combination with hybrid platforms. Even on the fuel side, natural gas has great flexibility in incorporating a wide family of renewable gases.
In 2030, thanks to a progressive use of renewable gas, gmobility will avoid 15 Mt CO2, which is a reduction equivalent to 755 million trees. At the same time, Europe’s citizens will profit from up to 1 million related jobs and save more than 4.5 billion Euros in fuel costs per year.
Can you give us a quick overview about the current situation and consumption of biomethane in the road transport sector in Europe?
Today, we count about 3.900 CNG and 310 LNG fuelling stations, which fuel about 1.5 million gas vehicles in Europe.
25% of these stations are already delivering biomethane to European consumers. This accounts for 17%, on average, of all gas used as transport fuel (2.4 bcm/23.4 TWh). A 17% biomethane fuel share increases the CO2 emissions reduction from 20% (measured tailpipe with natural gas) to almost 40% compared with gasoline. This is the reason why, when thinking about climate change, it is essential to assess performance by considering the combined effect from the vehicle and the fuel.
Which countries are the furthest in the use of biomethane in transport?
When considering the overall amount of biomethane sold as transport fuel, the top three biomethane champions are Sweden (106.5 kt), Italy (73.8 kt) and the UK (29 kt). We are also seeing great numbers in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and of course also Norway.
Naturally, these numbers highly correlate not only with the existing and developing fuelling infrastructure, but also with current gas vehicle fleets in these countries. We expect great developments and progress in the next few years.
What is your target?
When it is about the environment, no target is high enough – while time is also playing a crucial role.
Realistically though, we are on track to reach the mentioned 13 million vehicles and 12,000 fuelling stations with at least 40% biomethane by 2030.
We must enable this development and related achievements with enabling, supportive regulation and institutional ways. For example, the so-called Well-to-Wheel analysis, where we would also look at the source from which fuel – or, in other words, energy – is produced or sourced.
How to reach the European Green Deal in transport?
The goal of the European Green Deal is to reduce road transport CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030.
This reduction can be achieved very easily – and by the way also in a very affordable way – with a renewable gas share of 40% (biomethane) for gas-powered vehicles.
We have a large biomethane production capacity in Europe, issued from sustainable pathways, which are concrete steps towards a circular-economy approach. Fuelling our cars with our waste is possible!
Incidentally, more information about this can be found in our brand-new brochure called “The European Green Deal – In the Fast Lane with Biomethane in Transport”.
What do you think about the Czech Republic in terms of biomethane use? Do you have any recommendation for us for the future?
Our statistics show that there were about 25,000 gas-powered vehicles on the Czech Republic’s streets in 2019. This is about 10% more than the year before.
As I have mentioned before, the use and production of biomethane offers great opportunities to boost the economy. Many (local) jobs can be created, and the value chain is big: everyone, be they farmers, engineers, or fuelling station operators, will profit.
This is also because the Czech Republic is located in the very heart and centre of Europe, and therefore experiences quite a lot of cross-border traffic – whether passenger or freight transport – and therefore also has a huge potential to expand the use of LNG solutions.
Of course, and as we know, the use of biomethane will drastically reduce emissions and also improve air quality, which the whole country and all its citizens will profit from.
Thank you for the interview.
It was my pleasure, thank you.
This interview was published in Energetika Number 5, 2020