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    EC Calculations of Vehicle Emissions is Flawed: Industry Groups


It is time for the European Commission to recognise the upstream component of electric vehicles' battery charging.

by: William Powell

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Gas for Transport, Infrastructure, News By Country, EU, Germany

EC Calculations of Vehicle Emissions is Flawed: Industry Groups

The European Commission could do more to limit CO2 emissions in the transport sector by calculating vehicle emissions more effectively and incentivising cleaner internal combustion engines, German gas group Zukunft Erdgas (ZE) and the gas and water association DVGW said in a March 10 statement. 

From 2021 at the latest, vehicle manufacturers will have to comply with the EU's stricter CO2 limits. Environmentally friendly fuels are rated differently: electric vehicles are listed with zero emissions, despite at least some of the power coming from fossil fuel-fired plants; but the use of biogas as fuel is not favoured. This means that the electric drive is preferred over other alternatives, despite the dirtier generation process. 

In contrast to the current methodology, a 'well-to-wheel' assessment measures not only the emissions that result from the combustion of the fuel, but also the upstream emissions. It thus provides a realistic picture of the CO2 balance of a fuel. The regulation is to be reviewed in mid-2021.

"Next summer, the EU will have the chance to correct the course of the CO2 fleet regulation in order to finally start a trend reversal in CO2 emissions from transport. The German government must advocate a 'well-to-wheel' approach so that vehicles that run on green gases such as biogas and synthetically produced natural gas or hydrogen are given a fair chance again," said ZE board member Timm Kehler.

DVGW CEO Gerald Linke said that biogas, synthetically produced natural gas, and later, hydrogen will gain in importance in cars and commercial vehicles. The clear commitment of the federal government is now important so that the market ramp-up of this important technology is promoted and German manufacturers can take over technology leadership both on the drive side and in power-to-gas technologies, he said.

In Germany, 47% of the natural gas filling stations are already equipped to supply biogas, and the country's output is enough – theoretically – to run 8.8mn cars. According to the German energy agency, around 100 terawatt hours could be generated by 2030.