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BioLNG as an enabler for climate neutral road and maritime transport

The European Biogas Association (EBA), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the Natural and bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe) and SEA-LNG published a joint paper, which demonstrates the concrete benefits of using BioLNG to decarbonise hard to abate transport sectors through the provision of the latest facts and figures.

The European Union set itself the ambitious objective of being carbon neutral by 2050 and is in the process of consequently raising its 2030 climate-related goals. Targets increase, as does the urgency for transport to accelerate its decarbonisation. Heavy-duty and maritime transport are two sectors where greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions are especially hard-to-abate. At the same time, cutting GHG emissions must come hand-in-hand with affordability and technology availability, in order to guarantee a successful transition towards carbon neutral transportation.

Against this background, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has great potential to drastically cut GHG emissions from heavy-duty transport and shipping, as an enabler to integrate a growing share of BioLNG in the European fuels mix. It is a solution that is available today, ready to decarbonise trucks and shipping fleets at a reasonable cost.

“BioLNG is available today and scalable for tomorrow,” commented Harmen Dekker, Director of the European Biogas Association. “It is a sustainable and cost-competitive carbon-neutral fuel if we take into account all positive externalities of the BioLNG value chain.”

The joint paper illustrates how BioLNG can help the EU reach its 2030 climate targets and become climate neutral by 2050. Since the BioLNG production process captures carbon, the BioLNG value chain generates negative carbon emissions. Hence, by running EU trucks on 100 per cent BioLNG, it is possible to remove CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.

The EU production of BioLNG is set to increase tenfold by 2030. EU LNG heavy-duty transport is expected to reach 280,000 units in the same period. Using a 40 per cent BioLNG mix with LNG will help reduce the CO2 emissions from those trucks by 55 per cent. This can be achieved using only 10 per cent (40 terawatts-hour) of Europe’s total BioLNG production (380TWh). In the shipping sector, 50 per cent of large container vessel orders today are LNG fuelled or ready for conversion to LNG. Twenty per cent of BioLNG mix in maritime transport would reduce CO2 emissions by up to 34 per cent.

Furthermore, BioLNG can be transported using the existing LNG infrastructure with no further technological adaptations or additional costs. For this reason, the support of LNG infrastructure is fundamental to ensure the deployment of BioLNG in the coming years. Today, the EU has 53 ports where LNG bunkering is available and over 330 filling LNG stations. This number will increase exponentially in the coming years. In the case of LNG stations, it will be six times bigger, reaching 2,000 LNG stations by 2030.

“The infrastructure we use today for LNG can be used tomorrow for BioLNG with little or no modifications,” explained Roxana Caliminte, Deputy Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe. “There are no stranded assets, only scale up effects for climate-neutral BioLNG. If we want to be successful in cleaning up transport, it will be crucial that the EU recognises the vital role of LNG infrastructure in the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy.”

Ahead of the upcoming Smart Sustainable Mobility Strategy which will be published by the European Commission in December, the paper calls upon the European Institutions to recognise the potential for BioLNG to meet GHG targets and continue to acknowledge the benefits available today of LNG and BioLNG in maritime and road transport to reduce GHG as well as local pollution emissions harmful to the health of EU citizens.

“To ensure maximum production potential and maximum benefit for EU consumers, the new revision of the EU Renewable Energy Directive should integrate more feedstocks such as residues which cannot be used for other purposes and secondary crops,” said Mr Dekker. “The EU must also create a single market for biomethane and BioLNG by facilitating trading of volumes and certificates across EU borders free of technological or political barriers.”

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