Wexford’s Transition to Electric Vans

In November 2021, the same month as COP26, the Department of Transport in Ireland published and launched the Climate Action Plan of 2021. This plan sets out a pathway that will transform how we travel with decarbonisation creating a cleaner greener transport system. Transport causes 18% of our carbon emissions. The plan sets out a pathway towards achieving a 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. It will be updated annually, and it outlines the steps required over the next 9 years to radically transform the way you travel and with that our move towards a fully decarbonised transport sector. There are over 70 actions in the transport chapter of the plan however the key metrics or tactical initiatives identified for and up to 2030 are as follows:

Suffice to say – we are entering a period of rapid and unparalleled change in the transport sector.  The International Energy Agency reports that it expects global transport to double, however, major technological innovations can help offset this rise in demand. As the world shifts towards lower-carbon electricity sources, the rise of electric vehicles and the development of biofuel alternatives offer a viable option to reduce emissions.

Decarbonising Wexford

Wexford County Council are committed to addressing their environmental impact, conserving resources and improving their bottom line through efficient energy management. Certification for the international, best practice Energy Management Standard ISO 50001 was achieved last year further paving the way towards better energy efficiency and carbon targets for 2030 and beyond. Wexford County Council achieved over 39% improvement in energy performance up to 2020 exceeding the 33% target (as outlined in the SEAI public sector Annual report 2021 published in February 2022).

Electric Vehicles

Wexford County Council own and operate a fleet of over 250 vehicles to carry out their service delivery plan to the county. They are leading the way in the drive towards decarbonising their working fleet. It is estimated that 12-15% of the fleet of 250 vehicles is considered suitable to change over to EV

The first EV was purchased three years ago. There are now six fully electric vans servicing the county, three electric forklifts have replaced three diesels. One van has been placed at Wexford County Hall and three are for general use in the machinery yard. Another van is being used by the fire service and lastly one by the environmental warden. Hugh Russell, the machinery yard manager, is very impressed with the vehicles saying that the EVs were first put in place as run-abouts so that staff could experience what they are like for themselves. “They have been very well received, they’re easier to use with their stop/go pedals and are a smoother and quieter drive.”

Work is ongoing to help identify the next top ten vehicles to be replaced. Issues taken into consideration include the availability of off-street parking, employee buy-in, expenses policy, human resources and industrial relations. Community warden vans are being assessed for the transition to EV and an EV pickup is coming on trial soon. This vehicle will be suitable for many applications and can tow a 750kg trailer.

Currently, Wexford County Council are also looking at developing the infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles. They are looking at perhaps leaving these vans to charge in depots, the housing section are also to come on board with requirements for small vans and the infrastructure/facilities to charge them. EV chargers are currently installed in the following locations

  1. Four Double EV Chargers fitted to WCC County Hall (1x22Kw and 3x 7kw)
  2. Three Double 7kw EV Chargers fitted to Enniscorthy Machinery yard
  3. Double 22kw EV Chargers fitted to Wexford fire station
  4. Double 22kw EV Chargers fitted to Gorey fire station
  5. Two x Double 22kw EV Chargers being fitted to Whitemills depot, Wexford at present
  6. Gorey civic office considering chargers
  7. NR & EY civic offices to be assessed for EV chargers

New Public EV charging stations are confirmed for Kilmore Quay, Curracloe and Carrigfoyle. A gap analysis will be carried out in 2022 for even more installations throughout the county.

 

Direct Comparison

The EV used by the environmental warden, an LDV Maxus e-Deliver 52.5kWh panel van replaced a diesel – 2017 Citroen Berlingo. Data from both vehicles were analysed covering a period of six months and 15,852km.

Just like petrol or diesel engine cars, the consumption of EVs depends on the model and the manufacturer, however, to measure the fuel (electricity), we calculate how many kilowatt hours it takes to move an EV from one point to another in the same way as we would calculate how many litres of petrol/diesel is used to do the same work. An electric vehicle is more energy efficient, and a cleaner source of energy given that an EV directly converts electricity into movement. A conventional petrol/diesel must burn fuel (creating heat and dirt/smoke as a by-product) and then convert that heat into motion thus making the process less efficient.

Using the same data, it was found that the EV was indeed outperforming its predecessor on every level. Emitting 39% less CO2 and using 35% less energy to do the same work. Using today’s fuel costs of €1.676/Litre for diesel and €0.240/kWh for electricity a comparison was made for the same distance over the 6-month period, a saving of €734.30 was recorded. The EV was using 19.88kWh of energy to travel 100km whereas the diesel van was using 57.06kWh to travel the same distance.

Carbon Emissions

Emissions data for the 34 diesel vans analysed in this study from May 2020 to January 2022 total 408 Tonnes of CO2. That is equivalent to the carbon emitted by driving over 1 million miles in an average petrol car and the same amount of carbon stored by 6700 newly planted trees over 10 years. The graph below shows CO2 emissions during this time. We can also see the dip in vehicle use during 2020.

CO2 emissions from a fleet of 34 diesel vans

 

Using the emission figures from the 34 diesel vans and replacing them with the emission figures of the LDV Maxus e-Deliver 52.5kWh panel van we can see a substantial drop in emissions as shown in the graph below. If all 34 vans were the same EV van, then only 90 tonnes of co2 would be produced, a drop of 317 tonnes of CO2. The 90 tonnes of CO2 would only require 1400 newly planted trees to offset their emissions compared to 6700 trees needed to offset current emissions.

CO2 Emission Comparison between the EV and the diesel-fuelled van fleet

ENERGee Watch Second Cycle Masterclass

With the mentees now chosen, the second cycle of the ENERGee Watch Peer-to-Peer training courses will will start on April 4th with the Masterclass. The ENERGee Watch Second Cycle Masterclass brings together the mentors, administrators, and mentees to introduce everyone and allow for a discussion of the broader aims of the ENERGee Watch courses. After each mentor introduces themselves and their course content the mentees will choose which course they would like to join. The courses and mentors are the same from last year:

Course 1: Data collection (acquisition and treatment) – Mentored by Boštjan Krajnc, Energy Agency of Savinjska,Šaleska and Koroška Region, Slovenia

Course 2: Monitoring, reporting, verification: follow up on the implementation of actions – Mentored by Savvas Vlachos, Myrto Skouroupathi, Charis Kordatos, Cyprus Energy Agency

Course 3: Indicators and strategies on adaptation to climate change – Mentored by Sandra Garrigou, Marie-Laure Falque-MAsset, Ile de France Regional Energy and Climate Agency, France

Course 4: Data display, dissemination, and validation by local authorities – Mentored by Thomas Knight, Auvergne Rhône Alpes Energie Environnement, France

Once the classes are decided, each group will then enter a breakout room where they can introduce each other and the mentor can organise the dates that suits the mentees for the training to take place. These training courses will take place in the region of the mentor’s organisation with each mentee travelling over for two days to learn. These courses build on the feedback from the first cycle and will be the first time the mentees are able to travel to the mentor’s region. These courses are expected to take place in May/early June.

Once these courses are over, the mentees will prepare an Action Plan for their region based on their learnings. This Action Plan will then be implemented and monitored with intermediate catch ups for the next year to allow the mentees and mentors discuss how the implementation is proceeding and to share their experiences. You can see the full Mentee Journey below.

 

Meet the Team: Stephen McCormick

 

  1. What is your educational and work background?
    I have a BA in Arts from TCD, an MA in International Relations from DCU and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and Renewable Energies from AIT. I’ve spent a decade in retail and a decade in Facility Management and am now branching into energy management.
  2. What’s the most exciting thing about joining 3cea?
    I’m eager to join a team of like-minded individuals who are keen on supporting Irelands energy commitments. 3cea has a great record of working with energy users of all stripes for 2 decades and I’m honored in becoming part of the team and look forward to driving further sustainability across Irelands South East.
  3. Why is sustainable energy so important to you?
    The world is in a pretty precarious position and faces threats on a number of fronts. Immediate climate action has never been so important and, with three young girls looking up to their father, I am particularly keen on showing them that my generation has been part of the solution and not the problem.
  4. What advice would you give to readers who are considering an energy efficiency project in your sector?
    Just do it – there’s never been such a critical time to make a positive change in how you live and work. We at 3cea have a dedicated team of experienced engineers and support staff to help you make a positive impact on your carbon emissions as well as your bank balance. Be the change you want to see.

 

Have yourself a sustainable Christmas with these tips

We take a look at some ideas to make your Christmas more environmentally and pocket friendly. Here are our tips to help you make your festive season more sustainable:

Presents – make eco-friendly options when shopping for gifts. Why not consider gifting an experience and bring your loved ones together?
Shop local – by doing so, you will reduce your carbon footprint and support the local economy, which has to be good! Shop local from weekly markets, craft fairs and local producers.
Energy-efficient appliances – it does make a difference. Choosing energy efficient appliances will save you money on energy bills and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions in the long run.
Save energy while cooking – maximise your cooking efficiencies by using proper cookware, keep on the lids while cooking and match your burner and pot sizes to help decrease the energy use of your stove or hob. Plan ahead! Cook multiple dishes at once and prep before cooking to reduce energy use.
Find alternatives to wrapping paper – keep sustainability in mind and avoid wrapping paper that isn’t recyclable, be careful about what you choose and opt for green wrapping. The Journal – How to gift wrap without all the waste this Christmas.
Use solar powered LED lights – when it comes to sustainable decorations, LED lights are far better than traditional incandescent lights, because they use up to 80% less energy. For outdoor decorations, switch to solar powered lights and put both sets on a timer. Not only will your energy bills reduce but you will be kinder to the planet.
Live Christmas tree – If you choose a potted tree or a tree that still has the root ball intact, you will be able to replant it in your garden or balcony meaning that the tree can continue to exhale oxygen which slows down climate change. Irish Times – Not just for Christmas: Trees go to pot to ensure many festive returns.
Use smart controls and timers where possible – to switch on & off when not needed. When using battery powered lights, use rechargeable batteries.
Invest in a reusable advent calendar – a great environmentally friendly idea! Choose from reusable or recycled-wood options.
Remember the true meaning of Christmas – what is truly important during this time of the year? Is it the flashy gifts and excess food or is it spending time with your loved ones, reflecting on the year passed and being grateful for what we have.

Listen back to the recent Beat 102-103 podcast where 3cea’s Energy Engineer Gráinne Kennedy spoke to Dean Egan on how to be more sustainable in the run up to Christmas.

sustainable little Christmas

 

3cea Joins the IGBC’s EPD Campaign

3cea is proud to announce that we are a signatory of the Irish Green Building Council’s EPD (Environment Product Declarations). Through the IGBC’s EPD Campaign, 3cea is committing to request that suppliers work towards getting an EPD by including an EPD request in our selection criteria. We hope this request for EPD and preference towards products with an EPD will drive the demand for transparent data and the first step towards circularity.

 

What is the EPD Commitment?

IGBC is asking specifiers of construction products to ask for Environmental Product Declarations and prefer products with EPD where possible within procurement restrictions and help drive the demand for better environmental data from manufacturers.

 

Environmental Product Declarations are 3rd party verified documents prepared by a manufacturer to set out the various environmental impacts of their products clearly and transparently. Standardised in EN 15804

 

What do they measure? Environmental Impacts during products stages​

 

  • Global Warming Potential (GWP)​
  • Acidification (AP)​
  • Eutrophication (EP)​
  • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)​
  • Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP)​
  • Abiotic depletion (ADPE and ADPF) and Primary Energy used​

 

To use materials where the manufacturer provides an EPD isn’t expected to automatically lower environmental impacts but will provide transparent data. This means it can be compared to different materials and their environmental impact which helps prevent ‘greenwashing’.

 

Why ask for EPD?

Under the new nZEB building regulations the carbon embodied in the materials will account for up to 50% of the total life cycle carbon emissions of the homes and buildings we design. Embodied C02 emissions are emissions that occur in the production phase of a product (including emissions from the production of the materials used and emissions generated during the production phase itself). So, for example, operational emissions are those generated by running a building, and “upfront ‘embodied’ emissions are generated by the construction of a building.

 

Without an EPD we lack the data to measure and reduce the impact of embodied emissions. Manufacturers who measure the impacts of their product through life cycle analysis (LCA) are then in a good position to reduce those impacts. By 2050 we need to reduce the carbon emissions from the construction and operation of buildings to zero and that includes materials.

 

We need to evaluate early design decisions which impact and influence the later design stages and results.

 

Why Commit?

 

Although many manufacturers in Ireland have or are developing an EPD, many manufactures don’t. This is because many say that they are not asked for and are compounded by suppliers or imported products not being aware that their product has an EPD. By publicly committing to promote the use of EPD amongst our staff and in our specifications, we can show manufacturers that there is a desire to seek out an EPD and show suppliers that it is something that can be obtained. The IGBC’s EPD campaign is mostly about raising awareness to encourage manufacturers and suppliers into an LCA way of thinking.

3 Counties Energy Agency offers free* Audits to 150 Irish SMEs

Information Session on free Audits to 150 Irish SMEs to begin their sustainable journey: https://bit.ly/CANCapSME 

Please note, there has been a change to the CAN Cap process. Audits will now be discounted with a voucher worth up to €1000. Although this will cover most the audit expense the business will need to pay the difference. This will be highlighted before the audit takes place. These audits will be Type 1 or Type 2 audits based on your preference and the cost to your business after the voucher will be relatively low.

Businesses in the South East of Ireland can now access free energy audits under the Climate Active Neighbourhoods Capitalisation Project (CAN Cap) scheme.

 

Offered by energy experts, 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea), the free audits aim to help businesses improve sustainable measures and reduce costs. Businesses in the South East are urged to sign-up as there are only 150 free energy audits available.

 

Date for the Diary: Free Information Session Tuesday November 2nd at 12 pm

 

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) has arranged a free online information session on Tuesday, November 2nd at midday to explain who can apply for the free energy audits, what SMEs can expect from it and how to apply for one of the limited places available. You can register for this event by clicking here.

 

The CAN Cap energy audit is available for free to businesses with fewer than 50 employees in the Southeast region from the following sectors:

 

  • Nursing homes and healthcare providers
  • Food producersfarm foods plants
  • Convenience grocery stores and supermarkets
  • Office blocks and property management companies

 

The audits are offered exclusively by 3 Counties Energy Agency having become Irish members of the global network, the Climate Alliance, based in Germany, a partnership of nine EU countries working together for climate action.

 

Alexandra Hamilton, Senior Energy Engineer with 3cea said

 

The free audits are an opportunity for businesses to reduce energy usage and costs, lower their CO2 emissions and make a very positive impact on climate change. Following completion of an audit, the business will receive an energy usage report. 3cea will advise on how to reduce energy bills and develop practical, sustainable energy measures. Companies may also qualify for further grant assistance for upgrades such as solar panels, energy-efficient heating or cooling systems, insulation, or upgrade to LED lighting. Our auditors will always advise on any grants that may be available.”

 

Free energy audits are available with no obligation, as part of an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) Development Project called CAN Cap. Businesses that are interested in exploring can visit https://3cea.ie/cancap-offers-free-energy-reports-for-irish-smes/ and express their interest by filling out the CAN Cap enquiry form.

Duncan Stewart keeps an eco-eye on Kilkenny

Duncan Stewart keeps an eco-eye on Kilkenny – Booking now open for the free Green for Micro conference

Irish environmentalist Duncan Stewart, well-known as the host of RTÉ’s Eco Eye since 2002, will offer his expertise and guidance to businesses across Kilkenny. Exclusively available to businesses in the South East, enterprises are invited to attend the free Green for Micro conference on Friday 15th October at 9.30 am, hosted online via Zoom. To register visit: www.localenterprise.ie/Kilkenny

The Green for Micro conference offers a unique opportunity to learn how to cut harmful emissions and make significant energy and bottom-line savings. It aims to support small businesses in the South East and break down environmental and sustainability challenges for their business.

Keynote speaker, Duncan Stewart, will share his insights on how vital it is for businesses to address environmental issues within their business and how this will ensure the sustainability of small enterprises into the future. Expert speakers from 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) and the Southern Region Waste Management office will share useful tips on how to make simple changes, for example, how to manage waste in your business and how to access funding support for greener practises. The panel of speakers will demonstrate how investing time and resources in green issues will ultimately benefit small businesses.

The programme will begin with an introduction and welcome from Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny. She commented, “We want to encourage small businesses to learn more about how they can help Ireland move toward a greener net-zero economy. Beyond that, sustainable decisions make financial sense. We hope people will join us on October 15th to find out more.”

Grainne Kennedy, Energy Engineer, 3cea said, “Even the smallest change in a businesses’ consciousness and tweaks to its manufacturing processes can make a big difference. Any business of any size can have a profound effect on the environment. We’re looking forward to telling people about the South East Green for Micro programme and how they can access funding to start their green journey today.”

Led by the Local Enterprise Offices in the South East, in partnership with 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea), the South East Green for Micro programme was launched in April 2019, funded by Enterprise Ireland to assist local businesses with their low carbon transition.  3cea, an independent, not-for-profit energy agency, offered technical assistance for the project, helping participating enterprises examine their energy, waste, water, procurement and transport needs and make more informed, environmentally-friendly choices.

 

For more information about energy grants available in the South East, visit www.3cea.ie. To learn more about the Green for Micro conference on Friday 15th October at 9.30 am, hosted online, visit: www.localenterprise.ie/kilkenny

 

Free* Energy Audits Offered by 3cea Through CAN Cap Programme

Free* energy audits offered to 150 Irish SMEs

*Please note, there has been a change to the CAN Cap process. Audits will now be discounted with a voucher worth up to €1000. Although this will cover most the audit expense the business will need to pay the difference. This will be highlighted before the audit takes place. These audits will be Type 1 or Type 2 audits based on your preference and the cost to your business after the voucher will be relatively low.

3 Counties Energy Agency help SMEs to improve sustainability and reduce energy bills

With extreme weather events in the news almost every day, and the science showing that our behaviour is slowly and relentlessly heating the planet, more people recognise the need to change. Many Irish businesses are examining their options to move towards carbon neutrality.

 

An opportunity has been launched for Irish businesses to avail of a free energy audit as part of an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) Development Project called CANCap. Businesses that avail of this support will begin to transition to a low carbon economy and contribute towards the Government’s Climate Bill promise to half emission by 2050.

 

Offered by climate experts, 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea), the project aims to assist SMEs, in specific industries, to improve sustainable measures and reduce energy bills by addressing deficiencies and incorporating renewable energy practices. The Climate Active Neighbourhoods Capitalisation Project (CANCap) free energy audit is available to SME, businesses with fewer than 50 employees in the Southeast region from the following sectors:

 

  • Nursing homes and healthcare providers
  • Food producersfarm foods plants
  • Convenience grocery stores and supermarkets
  • Office blocks and property management companies

 

The audits are offered exclusively by 3 Counties Energy Agency having become Irish members of the global network, the Climate Alliance, based in Germany, a partnership of nine EU countries working together for climate action.

 

Alexandra Hamilton, Senior Energy Engineer with 3cea said

 

“The energy audit will include a walk-through of the building with one of our engineers to see how and where you currently use energy. They may have a camera, meters or other equipment to conduct the survey, but it will not be disruptive, and staff can go about their day as usual. We will make our recommendations for where to save energy across the business. 3cea are registered with SEAI to deliver energy audits across the South East, and we will always highlight any grants or supports available to deliver the projects after the audit is complete.”

 

Following completion of a free energy audit, the business will receive an energy usage report. 3cea will advise on how to reduce energy bills and develop sustainable energy practices that will meet the daily objectives of the business more efficiently. Companies may qualify for further grant assistance should they wish to carry out upgrades such as solar panels, energy-efficient heating or cooling systems, insulation, or upgrade to LED lighting.

 

Under the SEAI’s Better Energy Communities (BEC) grant scheme commercial businesses can avail of up to 30 per cent of the costs of energy upgrades up to €2M maximum grant per company. A free information webinar will be held on 21st September 2021 from 1-2 pm, hosted via Zoom, and presented by 3cea Senior Engineer, Alexandra Hamilton. Those considering energy upgrades will learn more about the savings, how to go through the funding process, the benefits and grant opportunities available to Irish businesses. Register online:https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/information-session-on-energy-grants-supports-for-organisations-tickets-167741863429

 

This is a great opportunity for businesses to reduce energy usage and costs, lower their CO2 emissions and make a very positive impact on climate change. I would encourage any business considering energy upgrades to attend our information evening on September 21st to find out more.” Ms Hamilton Concluded

 

Businesses that are interested in exploring can visit our CAN Cap Homepage and express their interest by filling out the CANCap enquiry form.

Irish SME Clean Tech Receives STEPS Second Voucher

An Irish SME, Clean Tech has received the STEPS Second Voucher as the STEPS Business Support Programme successfully moves forward and shows first results. SMEs selected in March for the programme have received support from knowledge institutions and already progressed their TRL levels. Tipperary-based Clean tech are now ready to progress to the final stage and four further SMEs are already in the final stage to start testing under ‘real-life’-conditions, with partly cross-border testing involve. Meanwhile, 25 new innovative SMEs applied for the Business Support Programme and are now being assessed for enrollment.

In STEPS, business support and knowledge partners from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom have joined forces to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative energy storage (e-storage) providers in North-West Europe (NWE). They will do so by using a user-centric, demand-driven approach to bring products closer to the market through tailored testing. Specifically, STEPS will advise e-storage SMEs on entering new markets in NWE, engage with potential end-users, and increase the awareness of solution providers. STEPS will also connect end-users with providers of new e-storage solutions via a business support programme to increase their technological readiness level (TRL) through real-life testing.

In March, the first 20 SMEs started the STEPS journey to optimise future energy storage solutions. The initial step included support from leading knowledge institutions in the energy storage field that successfully increased the TRL of innovations. This enabled 3 SMEs to move forward and soon start real-life testing of their technology. Clean Tech, based in Clonmel, will move forward to this real-life testing phase by testing their product at Wexford County Hall.

Clean Tech TPRO Battery

Wexford County Council opened its new building, which was designed by Robin Lee Architecture, in 2011 and received a Civic Trust Award in 2012. The facility is equipped with a Building Energy Management System (BeMS) with a 10kWp PV system installed on the roof of the building. Therefore, Wexford County Hall is a viable Testbed for energy storage, testing and familiarisation with battery technology.

Wexford County Hall

Real-life testing is relevant to the participating SMEs to finetune and validate their product, to ensure compatibility in real life at end-users, and to demonstrate the value of their product. This will increase confidence in technology and provide evidence for their value proposition when entering the market. The testing will take place in all regions where testbeds are located; the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Germany. Our testing even includes a collaboration between two supported SMEs, Zebra (NL) and Locquet (BE). These two SMEs support each other with testing at Terranova Solar in Belgium. Currently, the implementation of the storage solutions at the testbeds is being further prepared so that the SMEs can start testing their technologies after this summer. Clean Tech are expected to be set up by the end of August 2021 and will remain on site until January 2022.

The STEPS project does not stop here. In June the second call for applications was opened to aid another 20 SMEs with the Business  Support Programme. The second call for applications showed great interest from SMEs and attracted 25 applicants from DE, BE, CH, UK, IE, and NL that want to advance their innovative energy storage solutions. Currently, the applications are being assessed. We look forward to announcing the winning SMEs soon and to start working with them on accelerating NWE competitiveness and the sustainable energy transition at large.

To learn more about the STEPS Project, check out our dedicated STEPS webpage here.

CO2 standards should support deployment of renewable energy in transport independently of the technology used

  • The Life Cycle Assessment is the only means to ensure that CO2 emissions in the transport sector are accurately and comprehensively quantified.
  • Compliance assessments for vehicle manufacturers should consider the contribution of biomethane to emissions reduction.
  • Legislation should introduce a binding obligation to increase the share of sustainably produced biofuels and renewable gases in transport.

Brussels 3 June 2021 – The European biomethane industry has launched today in the framework of the EU Green Week 2021 the paper ‘Smart CO2 standards for negative emissions mobility’, which includes three key recommendations to ensure the deployment of biomethane in transport and consequently achieve a fast, cost effective shift to carbon neutral mobility in Europe by 2050.

Emissions from transport will need to be reduced by 90% relative to 1990. According to the current trends, the transport sector will fail to contribute to the reduction in emissions required to meet EU targets. To ensure the full decarbonisation of the transport sector, Europe needs to couple electrification with the deployment of all alternative fuels and technologies.

The biomethane industry welcomes the gradual replacement of fossil fuels in the transport sector, but the replacement of these fuels should not penalise the technology they use. Internal combustion engines (ICE) are compatible with renewable fuels, including biomethane. Just as renewable electricity is compatible with the same batteries that are now mostly powered by electricity from fossil origin.

The current standards have adopted an approach to measure the emissions performance of the vehicles that considers only the CO2 emissions produced by the use of the vehicles (Tank-to-Wheel), instead of considering the emissions produced across its whole lifecycle. This penalises the deployment of ICE. However, this technology is already more performant when used with fossil gas than diesel or gasoline alternatives, and high performing when used with biomethane (bio-CNG or bio-LNG1).

The environmental performance of biomethane over its complete lifecycle is excellent and has been scientifically proved in different studies, as demonstrated in this paper. Biomethane vehicles can reach even negative emission levels depending on the feedstock and technology used, but this is not recognised by the current regulation.

The updating of the CO2 emission performance standards together with other legal frameworks (e.g. RED III or DAFI) must set out a harmonised approach that enables genuinely carbon neutral and cost effective solutions to reduce CO2 emissions in transport. Eventually, this should lead to the adoption of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach in EU vehicle legislation.

Manufacturing and recycling can represent anything from one fourth to one half of the total vehicle emissions, but are entirely omitted from the current standards. Life Cycle Assessment is the only means to ensure that CO2 emissions in the transport sector are accurately and comprehensively quantified. Considering only tailpipe emissions leaves 93% (54 tonnes/58 tonnes) of transport sector carbon emissions out of the calculation2.

The CO2 emission standards should also include a new mechanism ensuring that compliance assessments for vehicle manufacturers consider the contribution of biomethane to emissions reduction. This mechanism could take the form of a crediting system or a carbon correction factor (CCF) as a function of the renewable fuel used. If a new mechanism cannot be implemented by 2025 at the latest, then the most efficient gas vehicles should be acknowledged as low emission vehicles within the current system.

The decarbonisation of transport could also be encouraged with a binding obligation for the EU to steadily increase the share of sustainably produced biofuels and renewable gases in transport, reaching 50% in ICE and hybrid vehicles by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

The sustainable production of biomethane for the coming years is large. There is a consensus that by 2030, the biogas and biomethane sectors combined can almost double their production and by 2050, production can more than quadruple. This is equivalent to 100 million passenger vehicles or 2.5 to 5 million heavy duty vehicles (HDV), depending on the type of HDV considered.

The benefits of the use of biomethane for clean mobility go far beyond the transport sector. Biomethane is at the heart of an efficient circular economy: it is the best way to recycle organic waste, produce valuable renewable gas and biofertilisers, promote sustainable and efficient farming practices and create jobs in rural areas. The potential of biogas and biomethane was also pointed out in the recent Farm-to-Fork and Methane strategies of the European Commission.

Download the paper ‘Smart CO2 standards for negative emissions mobility