Europe, dare to take a stand when it comes to clean fuels

A preview to European Sustainable Energy Week 2018

31-05-2018

The European Sustainable Energy Week is starting again next week. It’s an important event for the future of sustainable energy, and therefore clean fuels!

Organised by the European Commission, the event once again includes a conference that brings together key figures and organisations from this sector. For example, it includes MEP Jerzy Buzek, chairman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Buzek is one of the Ambassadors of the conference, as is Eckart Würzner. In addition to being the mayor of Heidelberg, Germany, Würzner is also the president of EUROCITIES.

The strategic event partners include the Coalition for Energy Savings, COGEN Europe and NGVA Europe, among others. The latter, the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association, was invited to organise a debate this year about the opportunities created by integrating sustainable energy into the transport sector.

So in short, it promises to be an inspiring event!

The sustainability of biofuels

The use of biofuels will also undoubtedly be discussed – even though this term frequently leads to confusion.  The term suggests that biofuels are cleaner and more efficient than fossil fuels by definition. But that’s not always the case – which is what prompted PitPoint to write a whitepaper about it. Here, we show that transparency on the origin and consumption of biofuels such biomethane and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) ultimately determines how sustainable the use of these fuels really is. I can wholeheartedly recommend reading this paper!

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increase, not decrease

As far as I’m concerned, the timing of this conference on the future of sustainable energy couldn’t be better. At the beginning of the month, Eurostat revealed that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels haven’t decreased in the European Union – in fact, they’ve actually increased. Last year, CO2 emissions were 1.7% higher than the previous year. Unfortunately, the transport sector is still a major consumer of fossil fuels, even though sustainable alternatives are readily available.

Brussels: Raise CO2 reduction for heavy duty vehicles to 24%

Last month, several large organisations sent a joint letter to the European Commission with a surprising request. Unilever, Heineken, Ikea, Nestlé, Carrefour and others called on chairman Juncker to increase the requirements set by Brussels for reducing CO2 from heavy-duty vehicles by 2025 from 15% to 24%. But above all, they wanted to ensure that these regulations are actually complied with. Only then can Europe stay at the forefront of combating climate change, according to these major companies.

As I expressed at the time on Twitter, I completely agree with the appeal from these companies. I think it’s unbelievable that the European Commission isn’t listening to them, and is sticking to a reduction of only 15%. Why, I ask myself?

The technology is already available, as is the supply of clean fuels. For example, our European network of clean fuel stations is steadily expanding. In the coming months, PitPoint is building six new CNG stations in Belgium alone. The innovative mobile hydrogen filling station PitPoint has built for WaterstofNet to be used for demonstrations and test across the Benelux was presented for the first time this week. And there is more to come.

Europe STEP UP AND join the GLOBAL leaders OF THE CLEAN FUELS PACK

In the letter to Juncker, they also rightfully note that the United States, Canada, Japan and China have already set fuel efficiency standards for trucks and other heavy vehicles. In my opinion, Europe should do the same. However, it’s also crucial that the supply of zero-emissions vehicles is aligned with the growing demand. But more importantly, I believe that the EU should finally take a stand and show sufficient ambition. By still striving for higher CO2 reductions for heavy vehicles by 2025, for example.

What have we got to lose?

Erik Kemink