A good summer for clean fuels in Europe

REDII and other positive steps towards zero emission transport

10-09-2018

Like many of you, I have now returned to work after my vacation and I can look back on a great summer. The sun was also shining as far as clean fuels are concerned. A number of important decisions were taken related to the transition to zero emission transport. At the European level, in the context of the Renewable Energy Directive. And at country level, with new regulation for clean mobility in France, and substantial subsidies for sustainable fueling and charging infrastructure granted in the Netherlands and Belgium. In my opinion, these are all positive steps needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. This is provided that EU Member States and the European transport sector respond adequately to these developments, of course. Let me briefly summarise them for you.

The European transport sector and renewable energie

The decision has finally been taken: in June, negotiators from the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on modification of the renewable energy policy. The updated Renewable Energy Directive, REDII, states that by 2030 almost a third of total energy consumption in Europe must originate from renewable sources. Targets for the transport sector have also been fine-tuned in the definitive version of REDII.

By 2030, 14% of fuel consumption for road and rail transport must be renewable. Of this, at least 3.5% must consist of second generation biofuels, the so-called advanced biofuels. Biomethane falls within this category. In addition to renewable electricity, stimulated by a multiplication factor as high as 4 for road transport, hydrogen also contributes to the REDII target for transport. Provided it is produced from renewable sources.

Green light for bioMETHANE and green hydrogen

As CEO of PitPoint clean fuels I am cautiously enthusiastic about REDII. We have to study the details more closely, of course, but it seems as though the new policy will stimulate international trade in biomethane. By counting green hydrogen countries and the transport sector in Europe have yet another important sustainable fuel solution at their disposal, in addition to electricity and biomethane. Both developments are critically important achieve clean transport, as far as we are concerned.

Now we have to wait for the European Parliament’s plenary vote on 12 November, and green light from the European Council. After that the 27 Member States will begin implementation of the directive into national law and legislation. Let’s hope that they are going to optimally use all the clean fuels that are available to them. As I explained in my previous blog, Europe’s energy transition requires multiple fuel solutions. There’s not just one ‘silver bullet’ clean fuel to achieve zero emission transport.

Towards climate neutral transport in France

This summer the French government also took a major step on its path to zero emissions. Last month, in the context of new legislation, the Loi Mobilités, it was announced that heavy-duty vehicles must be climate neutral by 2050. Très bien! To achieve this, the use of natural gas (NGV) in freight transport and passenger transport will become more accessible. Duty on biomethane, CNG, and LNG will be frozen until 2022, and financial assistance will be offered for the installation of plants to produce biomethane.

The French Ministery for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition also appears determined to put hydrogen on the map in France. As of 2019, a hundred million euro will be invested in the ‘plan Hydrogène’. In this context a hundred hydrogen stations need to be built along French roads by 2023. A subsidies program encourages the development of hydrogen-powered buses, trains, trucks and boats. Soon an announcement will be made about the rules that apply to the installation of hydrogen stations at standard refueling stations. In any case, it is clear that France aims to be a frontrunner when it comes to investing in clean fuels. It goes without saying that I wholeheartedly support this, and PitPoint would be delighted to help realise these fine ambitions.

BENEFIC boosts clean fuels in the Benelux

Positive news concerning a cleaner future also emerged from the Low Countries this summer. The Dutch-Belgian cooperation partnership BENEFIC announced that it was making 5.3 million euro available for the development of clean and green transport technology. As such, BENEFIC is contributing to REDII as well as the European Clean Power For Transport directive.

I am proud to be able to report that BENEFIC allocated 1.3 million euro out of these subsidies to PitPoint. This to achieve seven EV and CNG infrastructure projects in the Netherlands and Belgium. This means we can expand our network of clean fuels stations and charging points in these countries even further.

Time to get back to work!

Now that the holiday period is well and truly over, it’s high time to get back to work. To further our mission of 100% clean transport by 2030, along with our partners and customers. This summer’s developments demonstrate that zero emission transport, and thus a cleaner future, is within reach. It is down to all of us to turn these developments into actions. So, what are we waiting for?!

This blog is also available in local language on our NL, BE-NL, BE-FR, and FR websites.