Renewable Fuel

In order to cut down emissions and ensure the future of our planet, we need to start using renewable fuels that are sustainably produced from waste or other sources.

When we talk about gmobility, we would refer to biomethane and synthetic gas – find more about those two in our blog article here.

In the sections below, you will find answers to some of the more commonly asked questions when it comes to renewable gas and how it could be effectively used in transport today.

 

Click on any of the question below to find out more!

It is time to address the renewable side and possibilities with gmobility.

Natural gas blended can easily be blended with biomethane or synthetic gas (power-to-gas) from renewable sources. What’s interesting in the case of gas is that the renewable component can (and in some cases already does) substitute the fossil component with sustainably produced one. 

So what’s the actual potential of renewable gas? The answer is that it can reduce CO2 emissions significantly, up to 95%.

Biomethane and synthetic gas (from the gasification and power-to-gas processes) are renewable energy sources with very low carbon footprints.

It is important to note that these fuels are also versatile – they can be used in heating, electricity generation but also as a fuel, hence why gmobility is talking about them quite a lot. The benefit, of course, is that when they are applied as fuels, they allow gas vehicles to run carbon-neutral.

That doesn’t just apply to cars. It is true also for van, buses, trucks and even ships running on gas. As long as those run on renewable gas, carbon-neutral mobility is possible.

Information on how renewable gas is produced can be found here.

We’ve discussed what renewable gas is in a previous article

Here’s where we would outline the general process of producing renewable gas.

First, what could it be produced from? 

Generally speaking, it’s made from waste from agriculture, municipal waste, plants, sewage or food waste.

How does it happen? 

Biomethane is refined from biogas, which is produced by the natural breakdown of organic material in the above-mentioned sources. 

As mentioned in a previous article, it has the same composition as natural gas and can be injected into the natural gas distribution grid, or used directly by natural gas vehicles.

Are there other types of renewable gas (different from biomethane)?

Yes, an alternative to biomethane is power-to-gas.

 What does “power-to-gas” mean?

It means producing synthetic natural gas, which is done with surplus energy from wind farms or solar panels.

It can be used directly by natural gas vehicles or injected into the natural gas grid.

Biomethane and synthetic gas… is there any other way?

NGVs can also use renewable hydrogen made from water electrolysis (the process outlined for the production of synthetic natural gas) mixed with natural gas in the grid. Blending hydrogen with natural gas can bring additional benefits in terms of pollutant reduction.

Carbon-neutral mobility through renewable gas is possible and, in fact, is already the case with the current NGV technologies

How much, when, how…?

Starting with an average scenario – if we blend natural gas with just 20% renewable gas, we would reduce GHG emissions up to 40% compared with oil-derived fuels.

Now, let’s look at what happens when we increase the renewable gas part to 80%. In this case, we would achieve carbon-neutral mobility.

Why just 80% of biomethane provide carbon-neutral mobility?

It’s because of the potential of the renewable fuel – there are two general benefits of using it. 

The first is obvious, it comes from a renewable source, therefore, we don’t add additional CO2 in the atmosphere. 

The second is that when used for fuel, cow manure emissions are collected and utilized, rather than just being left to go in the atmosphere.

Biomethane offers a clever way to produce clean, high-quality fuel from local waste, and can foster the circular economy

But what about the potential?

Already, Europe has the opportunity to fuel more than 2 million vehicles with biomethane produced from waste, just by transforming domestic disposals into renewable gas, a sustainable and locally-produced fuel.

Check out the leaflet from NGVA Europe that goes in more detail.

On its own, natural gas as a fuel for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles has vast potential to significantly reduce the GHG emissions from transport.

However, blending it with renewable gas contributes to further transport decarbonisation and offers significant emissions reduction potential for the future.

In order to understand this better and account for it in an accurate way, we need to look at the lifespan of the vehicle and not just what the vehicle emits.

What is meant by “full lifespan” of a vehicle?

Generally outlined, this is the consideration of all aspects that contribute to the production of CO2: production of the vehicle, fuel effect, use of that fuel by the vehicle to produce movement and finally the disposal or recycling of the vehicle at the end of its life.

When taking into account the full lifespan of a vehicle, natural gas as fuel is one of the most effective solutions to fight climate change and improve air quality in a cost-efficient way. 

At a minimum, a Well-to-Wheel approach (fuel and vehicle emissions) has to be part of the methodology to calculate CO2 emissions and evaluate solutions for transport decarbonisation.

Note: current legislation is set so that what you see on the vehicle information sheet only shows what the vehicle emits as CO2. In other words, the energy needed to move the vehicle, its production and recycling emissions are not part of that number. 

Thus, this number on its own (Tank-to-Wheel emissions) cannot be representative of the full picture, making it an ineffective factor on which to compare vehicle emissions.

What can be done about that? 

To begin with, a CO2 reward mechanism should be offered to car manufacturers, according to the amount of renewable gas traded to the transport sector. A similar approach already in use in Switzerland is adding 10% of biomethane into the gas mix. 

The 10% mix of biomethane means that a natural gas vehicle producing 100 gCO2/km in Switzerland is homologated (officially labelled) as 90 gCO2/km. This is already a step forward in the right direction that a non-EU country has correctly decided to implement.

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