Germany’s commitment to moving to more sustainable forms of energy usage, the so-called ‘energiewende’, is not confined to solar electricity or wind power. Fuel for cars is another important area.
The German Energy Agency (dena) is promoting the “Natural Gas Mobility Initiative – natural gas and biomethane as fuels”, which has been developed to support the goal of the federal government to promote an increasing share of natural gas in vehicle usage. Beginning from the current 0.3 percent share of the fuel mix, in a worst-case scenario these alternatives have the potential to increase up to 4 percent in Germany by 2024 (a growth factor of more than 10 times).
Natural gas and biomethane as fuels can make an important contribution to climate protection, the reduction of particulates, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and other pollutants from exhaust gases, as well as increasing security of supply and contributing to lowering noise emissions. Natural gas and biomethane can, for example, cause significantly lower carbon emissions than diesel or gasoline. If these fuel alternatives were to achieve 20 percent penetration by 2024, the number of natural gas vehicles in the German market would go from the current 100,000 to about one million vehicles.
The partners of the initiative originally had a target for the proportion of biomethane in the fuel mix in Germany of at least 20 percent by 2105. However, this goal was already reached in 2013. The aim is now to maintain this high level or continue in order to further improve the environmental benefits of methane fuel to achieve a CO2 reduction for road transport.
As such, they are:
- enhancing the sustainable production of biomethane from residual or waste materials so as to avoid usage competition with food production,
- the sustainable production of synthetic methane from wind energy, and
- to effectively communicate the benefits of biomethane and broaden their impact.
Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from dena (Natural Gas Mobility Initiative).