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G-mobility could drive the circular economy in European transport

The Natural and bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe) and the European Biogas Association (EBA) have recently released a roadmap brief that the duo says "unveils the contribution that g-mobility will play to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions moving rapidly towards carbon neutral solutions for a more sustainable future."

Gas fuelled light- and medium-sized commercial vehicles from IVECO (left) and Scania.

According to a joint statement, with g-mobility, (gas mobility) carbon neutrality, and air quality improvements are possible. The concept of g-mobility builds on the use of gas as a transportation fuel to enable cleaner mobility, low-emissions transport and efficient use of gas in passenger cars, trucks, public transportation, and ships.

It has vast potential to enable a cleaner future for transport, in which use of natural gas and renewable gas (also known as green gas, biomethane, renewable natural gas – RNG) contributes to decarbonisation and improved air quality compared to existing fossil fuels.

Renewable gas production is already standard practice, availability and the vehicle fleet is growing fast. Estimations on the future development of the European Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) market show a potential in reaching a fleet of 13 million units in 2030, a factor 10 increase compared to today’s situation. This will spread out on both the passenger car and the heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sector.

Estimations on the future development of the European Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) market show a potential in reaching a fleet of 13 million units in 2030, a factor 10 increase compared to today’s situation (graphic courtesy NGVA Europe & EBA).

The brief suggests that compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is offering a real alternative to conventional diesel even for long distance haulage. Gas-fuelled urban bus and coaches will see a 33 percent market share whereas the freight transport sector is projected to reach a 25 percent market.

In parallel with this development, the production of renewable gas will increase too: in 2030 a conservative estimation shows a production potential close to 45 billion m3 (bcm) compared to today’s approximately 2 bcm. This will, theoretically, be able to supply the entire fuel demand from the 13 million unit fleet estimated to be around 30 bcm.

The production potential is estimated at 45 bcm in 2030, consisting of 19 bcm made from anaerobic digestion, 13 bcm from Power-to-Gas and 13 bcm made from gasification. Out of the total production, 9 bcm will be used for transport. Renewable gas is the result of a local fuel production which supports the local economy and employment. At the same time, production of sustainable fertilizers will enable the recycling of nutrients (graphic courtesy NGVA Europe & EBA).

Nonetheless, NGVA and EBA estimate that by 2030 the average share of renewable gas used in the European transport sector will be around 30 percent, a very tangible contribution to decarbonisation: 30 percent renewable gas will provide a GHG emissions reduction of more than 45 percent compared to conventional fuels on a Well to Wheel basis. When considering the potential in using 80 percent renewable gas mix, a complete carbon neutrality can be achieved.

However, according to the duo, to reach 30 percent or higher renewable gas in the European transport sector, a legislative framework supporting all solutions is needed.

It is fundamental, that the legislative framework will maintain an open stage to all solutions: transport will need a clever integration of different technological approaches, including of course electrification, and we need to leverage on the best combinations of efficient engines and clean and renewable fuels. Under this perspective g-mobility results a key solution, able to immediately contribute to a faster acceleration towards a clean and decarbonised transport system.

A biogas to biomethane upgrading facility at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Sweden complete with a refueling station. Statistics for the first half of 2018 released by Statistics Sweden on August 17 show that the proportion of biomethane in vehicle gas sold to motorists at filling stations is at 90.8 percent, up almost 4 percent compared to the full year 2017 and up almost 8 percent on 2016.

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