Well-to-wheel approach can accelerate transition to transport decarbonisation
NGVA Europe welcomes the publication of the EU Commission’s second part of the Mobility Package but says the tailpipe emissions approach is discriminatory and limiting. It is calling for a more comprehensive approach to be introduced for assessing environmental benefits from mobility solutions.
In this context, the trade association representing Europe-wide interests in the natural gas for transportation sector explains a well-to-wheel approach can guarantee a fair and complete evaluation of the decarbonisation effect among different solutions, acting as a fundamental booster to introduce more renewable energy sources in the transportation sector in a cost-effective way.
“Ensuring that the EU transits to low-carbon mobility and improves air quality on a technology-neutral basis is fundamental. Cost-effective solutions for transport decarbonisation are available today already,” says Andrea Gerini, Secretary General of NGVA Europe.
“The Commission’s target of reducing CO2 emissions from transport by 30% by 2030 is ambitious but including a well-to-wheel approach we could even accelerate this transition. This means considering not only tailpipe emissions but also the emissions coming from fuel provision (well-to-tank). The well-to-wheel approach guarantees a fair and complete evaluation of CO2 emissions and the decarbonisation effect each solution for transport brings. It also allows for a wide enrolment of renewable energy sources, including renewable gases, in the transportation sector in a cost-effective way.”
Transiting towards a “modern and low carbon economy” and improving air quality is one of the main challenges to counterbalance the expected increase in passenger and freight transport and lowering of GHG emissions, while increasing air quality in urban areas. This is the main reason for transiting from the current system, mainly based on oil-derived fuels, to a multi energy one, in which different technologies such as internal combustion engines and electrified powertrains coexist.
Looking at the decarbonisation target and the proposal on CO2 regulation for PC and LDV for post 2020/21, setting an ambitious target was a fundamental drive for the future of this regulation but, taking into account the evolution of the technological and fuel mix resulting in a more complex and articulated system, it was also the right timing to change the metrics used to assess the vehicle CO2 performance. Tailpipe emissions performance that, “de facto”, only paves the way to electric vehicles, are not in position anymore to represent the CO2 impact from the in-use vehicle.
In parallel to the development of electric mobility, cost-effective solutions are available today with overall CO2 performance that are equivalent, and in some cases even better, than battery electric vehicles. CNG vehicles that already provide benefits from using this low-carbon fuel effectively run “carbon neutral” with renewable gas.
Technology neutrality needs a well-to-wheel evaluation and, under this perspective, the target of reducing emissions by 30% by 2030 could have been even greater.
As the aim of the Clean Vehicles Directive is to promote innovative transport solutions for public authorities, we expected more focus on the local pollutant emissions reduction that is affecting air quality in urban areas, rather than on CO2 (tailpipe) performance.
While for heavy duty transport several zero and close to zero emissions are mentioned, for light-duty vehicles the definition of clean and low emission vehicles setting at 2025 a maximum level of 25 g/km CO2, measured as tailpipe emissions, means, “de facto”, to only allow PHEV and BEV to be considered as clean vehicles.
Today air quality issues need urgent reactions coming from the combination of zero-emission vehicles and close-to-zero emissions; thanks to a better cost-effectiveness performance CNG and LNG personnel and freight transport could accelerate the renewal of the circulating fleet, getting a more important reduction of the harmful emissions.
About NGVA Europe
NGVA Europe is the European association promoting natural and renewable gas in the transport sector. It serves as a platform for the industry involved in the production and distribution of vehicles and natural gas. It defends their interests towards European decision makers, to ensure accurate standards, fair regulations and equal market conditions.
NGVA Europe creates networks with interested stakeholders to reach consensus on positions and actions. It also collects, records and communicates reliable facts and significant developments in the natural gas vehicle market.
Source: NGVA Europe – an affiliated association of NGV Global
To find out more about NGVA Europe activities visit www.ngva.eu.