On our path towards sustainable mobility, the increased use of climate-friendlier fuels as well as fuels from renewable energy sources in transport is crucial. Green hydrogen (H2) and increasingly green natural gas in its forms CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) have the characteristics needed to play an increasingly important role. In this context, Working Group (WG) 5 of the National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM) has published two reports featuring recommendations for action.
„Coupling the sectors energy and transport is a key requirement for the transformation of mobility. In the two reports which are now available, we show that generating green hydrogen through electrolysis is a vital precondition for making hydrogen – a CO2-neutral and versatile resource –more available for applications within the transport sector. At the same time, LNG and CNG – both fossil fuels – are already more environmentally friendly than Diesel. However, they have the potential to be utilised even better in commercial and heavy goods vehicle traffic including an increasing integration of green hydrogen”, explains Stefan Kapferer, chairman of the board of the German association of the energy and water industry (BDEW – Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V.) and head of WG 5 of the NPM.
Roadmap Power-to-X (PtX)
PtX technologies in transport have their largest potential when it comes to long ranges or heavy loads. Apart from long-distance traffic on road and rail, shipping and aviation are also potential markets. PtX technologies can make a significant contribution to climate protection. This all depends on the successful establishment of electrolysis for the generation of green hydrogen. Investment in the development of electrolysis plants and in particular today’s levelized cost of electricity stand in the way of hydrogen generated in this way being competitive.
Hydrogen is not only suitable as energy source, but also for material recovery especially in the chemical and steel industries as well as in refineries. These areas use large amounts of hydrogen which today is mostly reformed from natural gas. If these large H2 consumers are taken into account in the development of the market, a market for green electrolytic hydrogen can be created early on.
The report comes with recommendations for action in order to establish electrolysis as a key technology of sector coupling for future CO2-neutral mobility and heating applications and for storing renewable energies.
LNG and CNG strategy in heavy goods vehicle traffic
Compared to Diesel, LNG and CNG have a potential for lowering CO2 emissions of about 22 percent. When using natural gas, emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxide can be almost completely eliminated, emissions of particulate matter can be reduced by about 95 percent, and noise by about 50 percent. In heavy goods vehicles, LNG and CNG are currently the only immediately available and competitive alternatives to Diesel. An increase in the demand for vehicles is crucial for the upgrade of the filling station infrastructure as a speedy market penetration supports a cost-effective operation of the infrastructure. Nationwide supply of natural gas as fuel is possible and can be ensured via the well-developed natural gas network as well as via the (European) LNG infrastructure.
The addition of biomethane and SNG (Synthetic Natural Gas) has further climate-friendly effects. Its chemical and combustion characteristics are identical to those of CNG and LNG, which means that infrastructure and vehicles can be operated as before.
The report has some concrete recommendations for action and steps for how the proportion of natural and green gases as fuel can be increased in heavy goods vehicle traffic.
Both reports are now available to download on the NPM website www.plattform-zukunft-mobilitaet.de (in German).
About NPM – National Platform Future of Mobility
The National Platform Future of Mobility brings together experts in the fields of politics, the private sector, associations, research institutes and NGOs to develop visions for sustainable, environment- and climate-friendly, affordable and competitive mobility in Germany. Presided by Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, six working groups develop intermodal guidance to politicians, businesses and society in a technologically neutral way.
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