The European Commission (EC) has welcomed the vote of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee late November on measures to build-up alternative fuel stations, including compressed (CNG) and liquefied (LNG) natural gas stations, across Europe to break the oil dependency of transport.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: “I am very pleased with the positive vote. It strengthens our proposal, especially as regards the minimum infrastructure coverage, information for consumers and innovation aspects. I am confident that ambitious measures will be adopted soon for the benefit of EU citizens and industry”.
In January 2013, the European Commission proposed a Directive to ensure the roll-out of alternative fuels stations across the EU, with common standards to ensure EU wide mobility. The proposal aims at solving a “chicken and egg” problem: refuelling stations for alternative fuels are not built because there are not enough vehicles while consumers do not buy the vehicles because there are no stations. Hence the proposal foresees a minimum coverage of refuelling infrastructure for Electricity, Hydrogen and Natural Gas for road and sea transport, and their corresponding standards, including:
- for heavy duty vehicles, refuelling points for LNG along the roads on the TEN-T Core Network should be established at intervals not exceeding 400 km, and
- a sufficient number of CNG refuelling points should be available, at maximum intervals of 100 km.
With regards LNG in the maritime and inland-waterways sectors, the EC noted with disappointment the decision of the Parliament to adopt less stringent requirements than originally proposed by the Commission. This could lead to market fragmentation, continue the “chicken and egg” spiral of lack of demand because of lack of infrastructure and put at risk Member States’ chances of meeting the requirements on sulphur content of marine fuels.
(Source: European Commission)