Biomethane, or Bio natural gas as it is referred to in Germany, is playing an increasingly important role at German petrol stations, reports German association erdgas mobile e.V. In just the first seven months of this year, the number of stations where 100 per cent bio-gas can be refueled more than doubled, from 35 to 76. Overall, renewable natural gas is available at just under 230 of the 900 natural gas filling stations in Germany, in varying ratios. added to the renewable natural gas equivalent at different heights. Having renewable fuel at one in every four natural gas filling stations has contributed to the nationwide fall CO2 emissions from natural gas vehicles, by another 3%.
“This is a great success!”, says Dr. Timm Kehler, General Manager of the erdgas mobile GmbH. “It shows once more that the operators of natural gas filling stations are the drivers of the necessary change to more renewable fuel and less oil dependence in the transport sector. “The aim should be to increase the sales of biomethane as a fuel in the future,” he added.
Extrapolation, based on the nationwide bio-natural gas ratio, suggests biomethane represents about 10% of natural gas fuel sales. “With favorable policy environment, that proportion could rise to 20 percent by 2015,” said Kehler. The prerequisite is, however, that all stakeholders in government and industry pull together and apply the tax breaks for the environmentally friendly fuel by 2018.
“To reach the climate goals of the future, this development would be not only desirable but necessary,” says Kehler. Because, aside from natural gas and bio-gas, there is no other fuel technology that has such a large savings potential of CO2. “Even a 20 percent share of bio-gas in the fuel mix, when compared with gasoline, can reduce CO2 emissions by around 40 percent. If the fuel tank is filled with 100 percent renewable fuel, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 97 percent.
Dr Kehler points out that natural gas/biomethane is a sophisticated and affordable fuel alternative available which meets the high demands on the mobility of the future today. For natural gas engines, it makes no difference whether they are operated with the already environmentally friendly natural gas, or with 100 percent bio-gas.
In addition to increasing the bio-gas supply, gas station infrastructure will also be expanded. Eleven new gas stations were added to the network in the first half of 2012, with more than 20 still to be commissioned before year end.
(This article compiled using information from an erdgas mobile press release)