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Green gas bodies call for recognition of bioLNG's climate, environment, and health benefits

In a joint paper, the European Biogas Association (EBA), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe), and SEA-LNG have highlighted the "true potential" of bioLNG. The bodies call upon the European Institutions to recognize this potential and acknowledge the greenhouse gas (GHG) and local emissions reduction benefits of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and bioLNG, available today, in maritime and road transport applications.

The Swedegas LNG/LBG bunkering facility at the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden has two tanker truck receiving bays. Here liquefied biogas (LBG) being discharged from the tanker truck, a Volvo 460 methane-diesel, into the system.

Ahead of the upcoming Smart Sustainable Mobility Strategy, which is to be published by the European Commission (EC) in December 2020, the European Biogas Association (EBA), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe), and SEA-LNG have published a joint paper, which they say demonstrates the concrete benefits of using bioLNG to decarbonise hard to abate transport sectors through the provision of the latest facts and figures.

The paper, “BioLNG in Transport: Making Climate Neutrality a Reality” calls upon the European Institutions to recognize the potential for bioLNG to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, and continue to acknowledge the benefits available today of LNG and bioLNG in maritime and road transport to reduce GHG as well as local pollution emissions harmful to the health of EU citizens.

The joint paper highlights the “true potential” for bioLNG to decarbonise heavy-duty transport and shipping in a fast and cost-effective way. It illustrates how bioLNG can help the EU reach its 2030 climate targets and become climate neutral by 2050.

As the bioLNG production process captures carbon, the paper argues that the bioLNG value chain generates negative carbon emissions. Hence, by running EU trucks on 100 percent bioLNG, it is possible to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere.

“BioLNG available today, scalable for tomorrow”

According to the paper, the production of bioLNG in the EU is set to increase tenfold by 2030. EU LNG heavy-duty transport is expected to reach 280 000 units in the same period. Using a 40 percent bioLNG mix with LNG will help reduce the CO2 emissions from those trucks by 55 percent.

This, the paper says, can be achieved using only 10 percent (40TWh) of Europe’s total bioLNG production (380TWh).

BioLNG is available today and scalable for tomorrow. It is a sustainable and cost-competitive carbon-neutral fuel if we take into account all positive externalities of the bioLNG value chain. To ensure maximum production potential and maximum benefit for EU consumers, the new revision of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) should integrate more feedstocks such as residues which cannot be used for other purposes and secondary crops. The EU must also create a single market for biomethane and bioLNG by facilitating trading of volumes and certificates across EU borders free of technological or political barriers, Harmen Dekker, Director of the EBA stressed.

In the shipping sector, 50 percent of large container vessel orders today are LNG fuelled or ready for conversion to LNG. A 20 percent blend bioLNG in maritime transport would reduce CO2 emissions by up to 34 percent.

According to the report, LNG accounts for just over 3 percent of total marine fuel consumption. There are currently 173 LNG-fuelled vessels19 in operation with approximately 230 on order and a further 150 LNG-ready ships (vessels which have been designed for retrofit to LNG) either in operation or on order. Since the beginning of the decade, the number of LNG-fuelled vessels has grown consistently by between 20%-40% per annum, expanding from the short sea shipping sector in northwest Europe, where LNG as a marine fuel was pioneered, to international deep-sea shipping (graphic courtesy EBA).

BioLNG provides a proven and commercially viable way of incrementally decarbonising the European shipping industry using existing vessels and existing LNG infrastructure. We continue to advocate for regulators to adopt a goal-based approach founded on technology openness and guarantee a true level playing field between different mobility solutions. Whether this is on a well-to-wheel or well-to-wake basis, said Steve Esau, General Manager, SEA-LNG.

Furthermore, bioLNG can be transported using the existing LNG infrastructure with no further technological adaptations or additional costs. For this reason, the authors argue, support of LNG infrastructure is fundamental to ensure the deployment of bioLNG in the coming years.

The infrastructure we use today for LNG can be used tomorrow for BioLNG with little or no modifications. There are no stranded assets – only scale up effects for climate-neutral bioLNG. If we want to be successful in cleaning up transport, it will be crucial that the EU recognizes the vital role of LNG infrastructure in the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, said Roxana Caliminte, Deputy Secretary-General, GIE.

Currently, the EU has 53 ports where LNG bunkering is available and over 330 filling LNG stations. This number will increase exponentially in the coming years. In the case of LNG stations, it will be six times bigger, reaching 2 000 LNG stations by 2030. The use of the current infrastructure also boosts the cross-border trade of bioLNG in Europe.

By integrating the fuel dimension and recognizing the benefits of gas in transport into files like the Smart Mobility Strategy and the Revision of the CO2 Emission Performance Standards Regulation, the EU will enable and stimulate the decarbonisation effect of bioLNG. This is thanks to its already existing and rapidly growing vehicle fleet, and available fuelling infrastructure, commented Andrea Gerini, Secretary-General of NGVA Europe.

About EBA, GIE, NGVA Europe & SEA-LNG

The European Biogas Association (EBA) is the voice of renewable gas in Europe since 2009. EBA advocates the recognition of biomethane and other renewable gases as sustainable, on-demand, and flexible energy sources that provide multiple knock-on socio-economic and environmental benefits. Supported by its members, EBA is committed to working with European institutions, industry, agricultural partners, NGOs, and academia to develop policies which can enable the large-scale deployment of renewable gases and organic fertilizers throughout Europe, supported by transparent, well-established sustainability certification bodies to ensure that sustainability remains at the core of the industry. The association counts today on a well-established network of over 100 national organizations, scientific institutes, and companies from Europe and beyond.

Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) is the European association of gas infrastructure operators. GIE members are active in transmission pipelines, storage facilities, and LNG terminals. With 70 industry members from 26 European countries, GIE perfectly embodies the multiple transitional decarbonization pathways of the EU regions. GIE is committed to helping achieve the EU’s ambition to deliver a 90 percent reduction in transport-related GHG emissions and aims to become the first climate-neutral region by 2050.

The Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe) is the European association that promotes the use of natural and renewable gas as a transport fuel. Founded in 2008, its 124 members from 27+4 countries include companies and national associations from across the entire gas and vehicle manufacturing chain. NGVA Europe is a platform for the industry involved in producing and distributing vehicles and natural gas, including component manufacturers, gas suppliers, and gas distributors. It defends their interests to European decision-makers to create accurate standards, fair regulations, and equal market conditions.

SEA-LNG was founded in 2016, with numerous high-profile members including shipping companies, ports, LNG suppliers, bunkering companies, infrastructure providers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), classification societies, banks, and brokers, SEA-LNG is a multi-sector industry coalition whose members work together to demonstrate the benefits of LNG as a marine fuel throughout the entire value chain.

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