On 14 July 2021, the European Commission presented a package of proposals to equip the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, compared with 1990 levels – the ‚Fit for 55′ package.
In the draft regulation, the EU Commission proposes targets for electric vehicle charging points and hydrogen refuelling points, electric charging for stationary aircraft at airports and on-shore power supply for ships at ports. It also contains provisions for EU Member States to ensure coverage of refuelling points for liquefied natural gas (LNG) dedicated to heavy-duty vehicles, and LNG refuelling points in maritime ports.
While the measures in the package do not specifically target the heavy freight industry, it can and must play an active part in achieving the EU’s 2030 goals, and companies in the sector are already devoting their strategies to the prisms of sustainable production. Indeed, while all European industry participants are gradually creating a wide range of low and zero-emission vehicles that are either in the early or late stages of development leading to series production, some of them are already entering the market at a rapid rate.
LNG trucks, for example, are at the vanguard of the industry’s efforts to decarbonize, and they are widely considered as both a cleaner alternative to diesel and a critical component of the strategy for achieving zero-GHG long-haul road transport. The technology’s availability, as well as its cost-effectiveness and scalability, make it the ideal near-term answer for meeting the EU’s 2030 decarbonization ambitions. Furthermore, current natural gas infrastructure and cars are entirely compatible with renewable gas – biomethane, making them significant enablers of carbon-free mobility at low system cost, particularly in the heavy-duty long-haul sector, where bio LNG is rapidly becoming a reality in Europe.
Liquid or compressed biomethane can achieve emission reduction rates comparable to an electric car charged with renewable electricity (and even net negative on its complete lifecycle). Furthermore, rather than waiting for vehicle fleet renewal, biomethane provides an immediate opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles in use today.
Following last year’s IRU-EU Conference on Fit for 55 and its implications for road transport, the next conference on 01 June 2022 will focus on EU’s current plans for alternative fuel infrastructure and supporting road transport operators to scale up green technologies.
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