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Blog post: the potential of biomethane for sustainable mobility

Blog Post

There are those who use it to compete in the "green" Grand Prix and those who use it to deliver goods with a truck. Biomethane, today, has a greater potential in the field of sustainable mobility and transport than ever before, playing a leading role in the decarbonisation and development of the circular economy.

A recent news talks about the start in Sicily, in Assoro, of a plant production of biomethane from waste and agricultural by-products, made by IES Biogas and managed by the company Initiatives Biomethane, owned by Snam4environment.

While the French Vision Automobiles in Paris relies on a revolutionary prototype, unsurprisingly called 1789, to bring the very first biomethane racing engine to the Le Mans track, the most commercial manufacturers like Fiat, Audi, Seat and Volkswagen also offer natural gas solutions for private mobility.

In addition to protecting the environment and making considerable economic savings possible, these vehicles are perfectly compatible with biomethane, and thus pave the way for even greener mobility. In addition, some misconceptions that had partially slowed its wider adoption have now been debunked. First of all, the danger: Natural gas cars are subjected to the same crash-tests as gasoline or diesel; natural gas is less likely to ignite than gasoline and in case of leaks is dispersed upwards, since it is lighter than air.

This means that there are no parking restrictions in underground garages, as opposed to LPG cars, which, by law, cannot go deeper than level -1. In addition, premium models also exist on the market today, testifying to the fact that natural gas no longer means only convenience and environmental compatibility, but also performance.

Natural gas is a pillar of sustainable mobility because combustion generates much lower values (variable depending on the type of car) than petrol and diesel in terms of CO2 and nitrogen oxide (Nox) and zero for particulate matter (PM10).

When it is organic, in addition to being a green fuel, it also contributes to agriculture, enhances organic waste and develops the supply chain in a circular economy, thus improving environmental sustainability. The production of organic natural gas can derive in fact from three different activities: agriculture, using livestock waste and crops obtained from marginal land; and from the waste of the food chain, through the organic decomposition of solid urban waste, a classic example of circular economy.

In addition to the CNG (compressed natural gas) that allows cars to travel, even the LNG (liquefied natural gas) used to fuel trucks can be “bio". It is a form of heavy, long-distance transport and is therefore not compatible with electrification, which is the most potentially favourable area for biomethane penetration, which, thanks to the development of small liquefactors, could be produced directly in Italy, consequentially reducing the logistic and supply costs.

The ambitious sustainable mobility targets say that organic natural gas in 2030 can account for 40% of the methane consumed by the entire fleet of vehicles including cars, trucks and buses in Europe.

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20 November 2020 - 15:56 CET