IEA Discusses Golden Age for Natural Gas, NGVs Included

| International

Natural gas vehicle policy assumptions introduced – 30 million to 186 million NGVs by 2035.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a Special Report entitled Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas? It declares, “The future for natural gas is bright.”

The report considers the role natural gas has to play in light of improved near-term and longer term supply, challenging issues faced by mainstream fuels, the strength of the post-crisis natural gas market and the role natural gas could play in facilitating a low-carbon energy economy and in improving local air quality.

Natural gas fuel for transportation is incorporated for the first time into various policy assumptions and scenarios considered.

“While no completely new demand or supply side technologies are assumed to be deployed, the GAS Scenario does assume that governments in some countries act to encourage the introduction of greater numbers of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) than in the New Policies Scenario, consolidating the assumed increase in the competitiveness of natural gas as a road-transport fuel because of lower wholesale prices. Whereas the New Policies Scenario includes around 30 million NGVs in 2035, the Gas Scenario assumes that there will be around 70 million. This is still significantly below the 186 million vehicles included in the high-impact low-probability [HILP] sensitivity case for NGVs developed in Section 4.” (Page 16)

The HILP case assumes 10% of all vehicle sales worldwide are NGVs in 2035.

Under Determination of fuel choices in key sectors is a segment devoted to transportation, where infrastructure, pricing, payback, emissions and other subjects are covered and rationale explained. Following is an extract relating to emissions:

“CNG vehicles may emit less CO2 per km than electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), depending on the fuels used to produce electricity. In 2020, CNG cars are expected to emit less CO2 per km than PHEVs in all regions shown in Figure 3.7, assuming 10% of the vehicle-kilometres of PHEVs is electrically driven.” (Page 96)

The report goes on to discuss the comparative lack of refuelling infrastructure compared to other mainstream fuels, acknowledging this presents a barrier to individual NGV uptake in some regions; however the same barrier is said to be much less limiting for commercial, freight and public vehicle fleets, since the provision for refuelling infrastructure can be more easily accommodated.  High usage of fleet vehicles also improves the economics of ownership.

The Special Report is a precursor to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011 due for release in November 2011.

This article compiled using information from the IEA press release and from the Special Report.

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