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EU approves legislation to encourage clean fuels use in vehicles, ships

04.16.2014  | 

The European Parliament approved a law that sets common technical standards and encourages more filling stations for alternative vehicle fuels including electricity, natural gas and hydrogen.



The European Union gave a legislative boost to clean fuels for cars, trucks and ships in a bid to reduce air pollution and reliance on fossil fuels.

The European Parliament approved a law that sets common technical standards and encourages more filling stations for alternative vehicle fuels including electricity, natural gas and hydrogen.

The legislation, a watered-down version of a January 2013 proposal by EU regulators, also seeks to expand liquefied natural-gas (LNG) facilities for ships.

The measures endorsed by the EU assembly aim to help spur the development of clean fuels and lower their costs by establishing a Europe-wide market instead of fragmented national ones. The rules complement a series of EU laws in recent years to cut air pollution, diversify energy supplies and promote new technologies by reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as oil.

“This is a crucial step forward for the development of alternative fuels,” said Carlo Fidanza, an Italian member who steered the draft legislation through the 28-nation Parliament on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France. EU governments have already signaled support for the diluted law, making their final approval a formality in the coming months.

The legislation seeks to address what the European Commission has called a “vicious circle” holding back the market for clean fuels. The commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, said when making its proposal 15 months ago that alternative- fuel stations aren’t being built because of a lack of clean vehicles, that the vehicles are expensive because demand is inadequate and that consumers don’t buy the vehicles because they are costly and the stations don’t exist.

Common Standards

In addition to proposing common technical standards, the commission recommended minimum national targets for clean-fuel facilities that EU governments in December rejected as too intrusive. That led to a compromise between negotiators for EU governments and the bloc’s Parliament, whose transport committee had broadly sided with the commission.

The new law will require EU governments to apply common standards for alternative-fuel infrastructure for cars, trucks and ships and to outline policies for expanding clean-fuel facilities. For electric vehicles, the joint standard is based on a plug developed in Germany.

The legislation will force EU governments to draw up national plans ensuring that electric cars and vehicles running on compressed natural gas can move freely in cities by the end of 2020 and that CNG-powered vehicles can travel on the EU’s main highways by end-2025.

National Plans

The national plans will also have to ensure that trucks using liquefied natural gas can move on the EU’s main highways by the end of 2025 and that LNG-powered ships can travel between major sea ports by the end of 2025 and between major inland- waterway ports by end-2030.

In addition, EU countries that choose to include hydrogen- refueling stations in their national plans will have to ensure that enough of these stations are available for smooth auto circulation by the end of 2025.

Furthermore, shore-side electricity for ships may have to be developed at major EU ports by end-2025 at the latest, depending on demand.

The EU, with a passenger-car fleet of more than 200 million, has about 11,000 electric cars and around 1 million autos powered by compressed natural gas, the commission said in January 2013. The bloc, with a commercial-vehicle fleet of more than 30 million, has 50 trucks that run on liquefied natural gas, the commission said at the time.

In the maritime industry, Sweden was poised last year to provide the EU’s first liquefied natural-gas facility for sea- going vessels, the commission said.

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Charles Alvin Scott

Since mainstream manufacturers have had decades to get clean fuels into use, I suggest looking at none-mainstream for the concepts which will provide the answer.
I would also suggest that Onsite distributed generation and hydrogen production will provide the financial incentive for consumers to make the change to hydrogen. Honda Motors already has a demonstration house Davies California.
Prof. Arno Evers has +3 Personal Power Provider, I have what I call Cut 10 T for the UK (Cut 20 T for the US.) Low-voltage house with hydrogen from electrolytic gasses, 2 for 1.
Roberto C has a similar system with three already installed.

I also have a H2 engine, which could prove a lower cost option to Fuel Cells in using hydrogen to generate electricity onboard a vehicle. Both in terms of manufacture and use of fuel. On this basis what governments are planning in terms of fueling stations, may be overtaken by what consumers see as providing a financial advantage.(Prof. Arno Evers has called this "Added Value" and as the recent debacle over plug-in EV's clearly shows if a change does not provide savings then that change will in most cases fail.)

Distributed on-site generation and hydrogen production will provide these financial gains because it is joined up thinking enabling the beginning of the move to the Hydrogen Economy.

I would suggest that more of the same is not going to work, This is proven fact, that even with a massive publicity campaign and £5,000 gifts of taxpayer money and no road licence, plug in electric cars in the UK managed to creep over 1,200 or so when the projection was 12,500 in the same timeline.

Sorry, but new thinking or thinking outside the box is required, the options are here but we are not being given the chance to get the new innovation demonstrated, whilst funding is provided to such as H2 UK Mobility which are multi national or multi million dollar companies or both. Clearly if they had the answer it would already be on the market.

Olagoke Ajibulu

To sensitize the whole world a little more, may I suggest a publication or aggressive media presentation of cars, trucks, limos, aircraft, industries (statistics) country by country. Not for the purpose of the highest carbon emissions, lest it turns negative but for the purpose of showing what to gain if such machines start using alternatives. The legislative houses in all countries will easily take a cue from the leading countries in this direction I think.

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