One can not speak of biomethane, today, without refer to a reality already established, that of CNG, now recognized worldwide as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) used for light transport (vehicles), commercial vehicles and heavy transport (buses, refuse collection vehicles, fleets for heavy transport). A fuel, albeit through various hardships and obstacles kind of lobbying, it is imposed for its energy, environmental, economic, and why not, for the industrial advantages and motorsports.
So today we can frame the entire national sector.- 1,100 distributors road with a disbursed one billion and one hundred thousand cubic meters of methane.
- 980,000 NGVs (natural gas vehicles).
- 20,000 employees.
- 1.7 billion euros as turnover.
About the energy and environmental aspects of CNg, the serious events that are heavily affecting Volkswagen (and perhaps other manufacturers), are demonstrating what we have always supported. methane is not the ‘gadgets’ engineering, which as we have seen, as just gadgets, can be ‘adapted’ to the task (commercial), which solve the problem of pollution. we think, at this point, that we need to change fuel, using cleaner fuels.
In this context biomethane, if developed with a distribution network on national and European scale, can play a role in some ways even more effective than the same CNG’s. It has lower CO2 emissions up to 100% of the fossil fuels and can contribute so significantly and effectively to the achievement of the European objectives 20-20-20, regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
No coincidence that there are already important and positive experiences of production and use of biomethane in Europe in countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.
The environmental benefit of biomethane is such that you would to brush up, a measure that the Italian government had assumed in the early 40’s of last century, when not having the availability of fuels derived from oil, to encourage instead the use of “natural”, only fuel of national origin, had ordered that the registration certificate was granted only to vehicles using this fuel.
of course, today this would be a paradox, but it could be taken as a basis for considering measures that go in the direction of facilitating the implementation of a wide network of road installations with providers biomethane, synergistic to that of CNG which as known is made up of over 1,100 plants and is in constant development.
In this regard, however, something that goes in this direction already there. The article 8) of Legislative decree 28 of 3 March 2011 for the promotion and use of energy from renewable sources, provides that the regions authorize a simplified plant road they intend to grant also biomethane.
What convinced the legislature to enact such a measure bringing to the fore this energy fuel? Not fossil. By products of low value (economic) you get to produce a high-value fuel (in terms of energy). Can be distributed, for now by wagon or tank of gas, starting by manufacturers, the existing road facilities particularly in areas where there is no network, methane as gaseous or liquid. In the future it will be injected into the pipeline network with a potential estimated at up to 8 billion cubic meters/year.
In practical terms, whereas currently the CNG distribution network, consisting of 1,100 plants, already delivers more than one billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, biomethane could be used to supply another 7,000 distributors. Utopia? Not so. If we consider that in Italy there are 21,000 distributors of liquid fuels and that 1,000 of these are already equipped with methane, there are 20,000 more that theoretically could install dispensers also for biomethane.
Aspects that convinced even the European legislator that inserted biomethane, together with the CNG, in directive DAFI of October 2014, to develop infrastructure for alternative fuels, recommending the creation of a network of distributors in EC countries far apart not more than 150 kilometers.
Another interesting aspect of biomethane has the possibility to be used by “obligated parties” (oil companies or private) to the final consumer of biofuels, in place of liquid biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol).
Also, when produced by certain matrices (by-products, waste, etc.) is recognized as “advanced biofuel” and is already suitable for the performance of the further requirement recently introduced in our country, which provides for the mandatory release for consumption of increasing amounts of second-generation biofuels from 2018 (1.2%) up to 2% in 2022.
This is also supported by the European bill approved last April, which restricts the use of first-generation biofuels, which are considered harmful.
Adding these two possibilities of use of biomethane as fuel and biofuel dispensed in vending road, so we are facing a viable energy option. fortunately, our country is not in the condition of the 40’s earlier mentioned, where methane was “the Italian fuel”, but today with the potential of biomethane production and distribution, we can say that we are able to produce Italian biomethane which, together with the domestic production of fossil methane, would cover about 30% of the current total demand for natural gas in Italy. Consideration that should lead to see biomethane not as “competitors” gas, but, in view of national interest, such as “plus” energy.