Biomethane Fuel Gains Ground in Germany

| Germany

Share of biomethane in natural gas fuel has more than doubled since 2012

In the past year, the share of biomethane in natural gas fuel has risen in Germany from 6 to over 15 percent, according to Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) – the German Energy Agency. The renewable natural gas alternative is already available at one out of every three natural gas filling stations.

Over 80 percent of the biomethane is produced from agricultural waste products.

These figures, which are based on current market data (see end-note), have been provided by the dena-coordinated “Initiative for Natural-Gas-Based Mobility”. They show that the Initiative has made good progress in achieving the self-defined objective of a 20-percent biomethane share by the year 2015.

“The current figures are proof that biomethane can make a substantial contribution towards clean mobility based on domestic energy. However, we must concede that the full potential of biomethane cannot be tapped until more drivers change over to natural gas-fuelled cars,” emphasised Stephan Kohler, dena’s Chief Executive and representative of the Initiative. “To promote this development and create reliable investment conditions, the government should grant tax relief for natural gas-based mobility beyond the year 2018.”

Biomethane can be produced from waste products. Producing up to 97 percent less CO2 emissions than petrol, biomethane provides the highest possible CO2 efficiency among all bio fuels. In the past year alone, around 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide were thus saved. This figure is consistent with the emissions produced by around 30,000 petrol cars per year.

Furthermore, competition with food or feedstuff production can be avoided. In the EU, the volume of biomass waste products available for biomethane production is approximately as large as the EU grain production volume. Hence, we have a sufficient basis for fuel production expansion.

At the end of 2012, pure biomethane was already available at 119 natural gas filling stations across Germany. Hence, the number has more than tripled since 2011. All in all, at the end of last year, biomethane in various admixtures was offered at 288 filling stations. That is 107 more than in the previous year. The network of natural gas filling stations offering biomethane is becoming more ubiquitous especially in metropolitan areas, such as Munich, Berlin or Leipzig.

The “Initiative for Natural-Gas-Based Mobility” brings together vehicle manufacturers (Daimler, Fiat, Iveco Magirus, Opel, Volkswagen Group, VDIK – Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers), filling stations (BP/Aral, Shell, UNITI – German Federal Association of Medium-Sized Oil Companies), the natural gas and biogas industry (erdgas mobil, VERBIO, WINGAS), gas engineering (figawa – German Federal Gas and Water Industry Association) and ADAC. The initiative is coordinated by dena. The project’s patron is the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS).

(Endnote: Data is based on figures supplied by erdgas mobil GmbH and the biomethane producer VERBIO AG.)

(Source: dena)

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