NATURAL GAS VEHICLES CRUCIAL TO ACHIEVING EUROPEAN EMISSIONS GOALS
NGVA Europe, the region’s industry association that promotes the use of natural gas and renewable methane as a fuel mainly in vehicles and ships, says in a recent press release that natural gas vehicles offer large opportunity for rapid reduction of GHG emissions within Europe’s upcoming strategy on decarbonisation of transport: Changing to natural gas vehicles today makes it possible to reach the 2030 target of 30 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction coming from road transport ahead of time.
The shift to cleaner and more sustainable mobility will only work when using a mix of alternative fuels, the association argues, and requires discussion to be based on a functioning market and take into account the costs of the fuel, vehicles and components to achieve EU goals in a cost-efficient way. A realistic analysis shows that we are still relatively far away from that. “The upcoming strategy from the [European] Commission on decarbonisation should therefore recognise CNG and LNG vehicles as crucial tools to achieve Europe’s GHG reduction and sustainability goals for the transport sector.
Natural gas contains less carbon than traditional hydrocarbon fuels and therefore emits much less CO2 as a vehicle fuel: 25% on average, opening up the road to carbon neutral mobility when blended with renewable methane (from anaerobic digestion of waste or electrolysis of excise electricity). No technical blend limitations exit.
Combustion of natural gas reduces emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by over 90% compared to the very strict emission standards for new heavy duty (Euro VI) and light duty (Euro 6) vehicles, therefore making it an ideal “urban fuel” to clean the air.
Natural gas engines also emit much lower levels of other harmful and carcinogenic pollutants like non- methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), including aromatics as benzene. Natural gas cars have lower emissions than the 95 g/km CO2 fleet average target by 2020 and offer the most cost-efficient CO2-mitigation option (€/t CO2) compared with other solutions. The break- even-mileage (km/year) for CNG vehicles is already reached at 13,000 km versus 47,000 km for plug- in hybrids or more than 100,000 km for electric vehicles (University of Cologne, 2014).