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Weekly news concerning the use of renewable biomethane in vehicles

Today the world is screaming for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and there is, frankly, no better option than biomethane

New Vehicle Offers  
This report states that a Subaru Legacy AWD car with boxer engine from the spring of 2010 will be offered on the European market in a CNG version. 

I have tried to verify the contents, but find no official Subaru statement. On the other hand several motor magazines have reported the news. These encouraging news thus seem credible. An interesting spin-off effect would be the potential future offer of a plug-in CNG hybrid version (Subaru has already presented a plug-in version of the Legacy with a gasoline boxer engine).

An earlier reported local Swedish offer of conversion (via Alternative Fuel Vehicles) of Volvo V70 2.5 litre turbo charged flex fuel cars, to enable the cars to use CNG, is running behind the earlier advised time schedule (deliveries in Sept/Oct). AFV will now prioritise an order of 250 cars from Stockholm Taxi and hopes to start deliveries of these cars in November. Other customers must wait unitil the spring of 2010.
Source: Gröna Bilister 
Volvo Personvagnar Sverige AB (VPS) among other things, in this press release states ‘that Volvo offers vehicles that can be driven on gasoline, diesel, ethanol and natural gas/biogas. The text goes on to state: In several European markets Volvo also offers retrofitted gas cars which can be driven using up to five different fuels – natural gas, biogas, hythane, E85, and gasoline. Biogas in particular has very strong environmental properties. 


VPS is responsible for the sales of Volvo cars in Sweden, and is now suffering badly from domestic market share losses as a consequence of the decision advised in September 2006, and implemented in mid 2007, to cancel the earlier planned next generation of bi-fuel CNG cars. VPS obviously has a very tricky communication balancing act to perform as the present owners of Volvo Car Corporation, Ford Motor Company (FMC) in Dearborn, USA, has not (yet) changed their policy concerning production of NGVs. On the other hand FMC has let it be known that they wish to sell off Volvo Car Corporation. Chrysler and GM earlier went bankrupt, and FMC is on the verge of bankruptcy. 
A new company, KonveGas, is now in Sweden offering conversions of Ford S-Max to TrippelFuel (allowing the use of not only petrol or E85, but also methane). The 2009 volume target is 100 units. 
Reports on new orders for hybrid Mitsubishi Fuso Canter trucks (but so far fueled by diesel),40,Bild40   

Presentation held by Hyundai at the WGC in Buenos Aires, and describing their offer of NG powered buses. 
News about Isuzu NG truck trials in Australia.

News regarding NGV sales and new filling stations 
61 new MAN buses since October 1 running on biomethane in the Swedish City of Örebro. 
E.ON and the Swedish automotive fuel distributor OKQ8 have agreed on a joint plan where compressed biomethane will be distributed at 70 OKQ8 filling stations before the end of 2012. 
Växjö, distinguished as the greenest city in Europe, does not offer adequate biomethane refuelling facilities. This is now to be changed. In a general call for an improved biomethane refuelling network inititated by the City of Växjö, in cooperation with Energikontor Sydost (a regional authority), the demand is that every municipality should have one or several biomethane refuelling facilities. 
Tulsa, USA, orders 38 new CNG buses.,17,Bild17  

Presentation held by Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy, at the WGC in Buenos Aires. 
Ten new CNG buses in Toledo, Spain. 
Further details about earlier reported 45 new NG buses in Barcelona

News on biomethane and other renewable fuels

Swedish language press release Oct 13 from Swedish Biogas International. Contents are in brief:

A new plant mainly processing manure will be ready to start production a year from now in Katrineholm, Sweden. The 40 million SEK (around 4 million EUR) project is run by Swedish Biogas International, and all of the planned annual supply of some 3 million Nm3 of biomethane will be delivered to AGA Gas for use as a vehicle fuel in the Stockholm area. The financing is arranged by Swedish Biogas International and a group of leading regional farmers.

This order means that the total annual contracted supply volumes from different Swedish biomethane plants run by Swedish Biogas International will from 2011 reach a total of 25 million Nm3 annually.
Thailand’s use of alternative energy will increase from today’s 6 % to 20 % in 2023. The resources include ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, hydropower, biogas, biomass, wind power, and solar cells. 
China’s central government is reportedly planning to introduce purchase tax breaks for fuel efficient vehicles and those powered by alternative fuels. 
Report on a US $ 5 million support scheme for Vietnamese efforts concerning production of bioethanol and biogas. 
Report on a new Schmack Bioenergy project in Ohio, USA. 

Report on London plans for use of renewable energy. 

The focus seems to be on renewable electric power rather than renewable fuels. 
Interesting Swedish article dealing with the use of organic waste. The author does not support the incineration of waste (stupid, and not contributing to a reduced dependence on fossil transportation fuels). 
The earlier reported new biogas plant in Lidköping, Sweden, owned by Swedish Biogas International, will be complemented by liquefaction plant owned to 95 % by Göteborg Energi, 5 % by the City of Lidköping. Most of the gas will be transported to L-CNG fuelling stations in the form of liquefied methane gas, but swap body transportation of compressed gas may also be used for short distance transports. All gas will be purchased and distributed by Fordonsgas Sverige AB. 
Report on new technology for production of isobutene on the basis of cellulose. 
A report from Action Aid which is very critical concerning the efforts by the Swedish company SEKAB to establish sugar cane based ethanol production in Tanzania. The complete project is, however, now on hold due to financial difficulties. 
Information about a new Nordic R & D programme promoting the development of new, innovative, and sustainable forms of bioenergy. 
$ 150 million wood fired CHP-plant planned in Mingo County, USA

Interesting article about various pipeline projects 
The Swedish JO (ombudsman for legal affairs) ruled that car manufacturers may not label cars “miljövänlig” (environmental friendly) without very convincing argumentation. A car distributor was fined 300.000 SEK (around 30.000 EUR) for unsubstantiated advertisement claims about environmental friendliness concerning a flex fuel car offer. 
The Stockholm Arlanda airport will from October give strict priority to taxi cabs meeting the Swedish environmental vehicle definitions. From 2011 other taxi cabs will no longer be allowed to pick up fares at Arlanda airport. 
The Finnish authorities are now proposing free parking in Helsingfors for vehicles classified as environmental vehicles. 
German use of ethanol blended into petrol during the first half of 2009 grew by 453.000 tonnes. 261.000 tonnes of the increase came from domestic resources, 192.000 tonnes were imported. 
The Netherlands is now conducting test programs aiming to track all passenger car traffic via onboard GPS equipment. The ultimate aim is to introduce road charging based on actual traffic in congested areas. 60.000 cars will be included in a test program starting next year, and the ambition is to have a new system in place 2012-2013.  

Comment: Big brother may soon be watching over us. Is this what we want?

The Czech Republic is introducing a scheme providing a 1150 EUR bonus when scrapping a car at least ten years old, and replacing it with a car emitting max 160 g/km CO2. The benefit is doubled to 2300 EUR if the new car is an electric vehicle, a hybrid,an ethanol powered car or a gas powered car. The one year budget is 77 million EUR and estimated to result in the scrapping of 50.000 old cars.
Source: Gröna Bilister 
8.8 million hectares, or less than 1 % of all Brazilian land, is now used for sugar cane plantations (sugar cane increasingly used as a feedstock for ethanol production). The Brazilian authorities now plan to raise this figure to 64 million hectares. 
A Danish report states that hybrid vehicles, in a fair comparison, generate less greenhouse gas emissions than electric vehicles.
The Swedish national road authorities (Vägverket) have just released a study of the net CO2 savings on a well-to-wheels basis (using Concawe/Eucar/JRC update October 2008 as a reference) achieved by CNG cars and by flex fuel cars respectively. The conclusion is that NGVs during the first half of 2009 on a well-to-wheels basis had 55 % lower GHG emissions than the average car, flex fuel cars, on the other hand only 22 % lower. One reason for the significantly reduced savings via flex fuel cars was the reduced use of E85. NGVs on the other hand benefitted from a biomethane share of 65 % of all gas used. 
Article summing up NGV industry contribution at the WGC in Buenos Aires and highlighting forecast of 65 million NGVs by 2020.  
Another article about NGV communication at the WGC.  
An NG powered truck (diesel conversion via Omnitec) with a 37 tonne milk cargo travelled at a record altitude of 4814 metres over the Ticlio pass in the Peruvian Andes – the highest paved road in the world. The fuel consumption on a 326 km return trip was only 36 Nm3 per 100 km (a very good result).  
Rainer Zietlow has started yet another exciting world tour demonstrating NGV possibilities. 
Daimler has announced the creation of a new Mercedes-Benz car factory in Kecskemét, Hungary (some 90 km southeast of Budapest). The plant, representing an investment of 800 million EUR, will be ready in 2012, and will be used for production of compact cars (like the current A- and B-class). 
Report on a NG fueled car reaching a speed of 534 km/h. The result is, however, not approved as an official world record, as the trials had to be aborted during the second run due to a mechanical failure. 
Article about upcoming changes in the European Commission
Article explaning new procedures which will be introduced once the LIsbon agreement has been ratified. The national parliaments will have eight weeks to study and comment on all new EU legislation before it can be adopted. A yellow or orange card system will enable national parliaments to block or stop proposed new legislation.
The IGU 2009 report on NGVs (presented last week at the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires) is now available for downloading via above stated link.


The report editors have shown statistical data with a split between on the one hand Europe, and on the other hand ” the Russian Federation & CIS”. Something has gone wrong in the statistics provided. In table 19 on pager 79 showing a Business As Usual scenario we e.g find the following information:

2005 2010
Europe 440.000 350.000
Russian Fed & CIS 170.000 900.000
North America 150.000 250.000

As a comparison the NGVA Europe statistical update (data sharing with the GVR) as per mid 2009 showed the following numbers:

European total: 1.127.165 (update mid 2009, but still using somewhat older data for a number of countries))
North American total 115.177 (Canada 12.140 Dec 2007, USA 100.000 June 2008, Mexico 3037 April 2004)

European numbers excluding Russia and other CIS states (treating Armenia, Ukraine and Gerorgia as CIS states) were 789.313. It is not likely that this figure by the end of next year would drop to 350.000 units only. it will instead come close to 1.000.000 .

A jump to 900.000 units in the “CIS” countries, and to 250.000 units in North America is, on the other hand, very unlikely.

With this exception I. at a first glance, found no substantial errors in the report.

The NGVA Europe statistical data base, country by country, is now used as a statistical reference by the European Union, and we would not wish to jeopardize the credibility of our data.

I am also dubious to a presented forecasting model expressing total vehicle fleets in passenger car equivalents – based upon average fuel consumption data. It would, in my opinion be more correct to continue to forecast vehicle fleets and fuel sales separately.

Using my home country, Sweden, as an example, the total NGV fleet will from the end of 2009 to the end of 2020 grow from 23.000 to some 180,000 (160.000 cars, 18.000 LD commercial vehicles, 1.700 HD trucks and 2.800 HD buses) units – IF the sales should suddenly level off at the market share already achieved. A more likely development is that the market share will continue to grow substantially. In a continued growth scenario the fleet would by 2020 reach 360.000 units, and in a strong growth scenario 520.000 units.

Further information

NGVA Europe … for sustainable mobility

Peter Boisen
Chairman – Country Representatives Committee

Tel +46 (0) 304 31 921
Mob +46 (0) 702 918 307
Skype Peter Boisen 

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