Benefits of Using
Natural Gas
in Transport

European Transport

Current European Market

The transportation sector is facing a challenging period where it is asked to play a key role in supporting the decarbonisation process and in guaranteeing a better air quality, especially in high density urban areas.

Current vehicle technologies are based on a long-standing energy infrastructure system, mostly based on oil derived fuels: conventional gasoline and diesel fuels are currently moving 94% of the vehicles in the EU.

At the same time, less than 1% of today’s European vehicle market is fueled by natural gas.

When envisaging a future transportation system that contributes to the decarbonisation goal, a number of key elements must be considered to achieve an effective and wide penetration of new low-carbon technologies that can have a significant impact on the environment.

These elements include:

  • cost of energy and total cost of ownership
  • reliability of vehicle technologies
  • fuel energy density
  • distribution infrastructure
  • fit-for-purpose operational functionality
  • technological compatibility with current vehicles

In any future scenario, transport solutions have to be designed with the customer in mind, while also considering the different vehicle mission profiles, the geographical conditions and, of course, the local market conditions.

As well as the customer viewpoint, the requirements of technology suppliers (Original Equipment Manufacturer- OEMs-and lower tiers) must be taken into account through viable manufacturing scalability of new technologies in order to achieve price and cost goals.

It is clear that this will translate into multiple solutions, where different vehicle technologies best fit with fuels and energy under diverse operational and market demands.

No single silver bullet solution exists that will, alone, lead to decarbonisation in transport.

Any and every solution must find a way to respond to the expectations of this system in terms of the environmental benefits, maturity, affordability, and customer requirements, and to match the specific mission profile of each vehicle.

Support must be based on a technology-neutral approach, in which the focal element is the results of the technology and not the technology itself.

Under this perspective, natural gas already presents significant advantages in terms of reducing pollutants. Furthermore, biomethane and synthetic methane blended with natural gas, can contribute effectively to the decarbonisation of the transportation system, from a Well-to-Wheel perspective, matching at the same time a close-to-zero-emissions level in terms of local pollutants.

For these reasons the EU Institutions should maintain an open framework in order to consider natural gas and renewable methane as one of the more effective solutions in transport.