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Biomethane in transport

The difference in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) between an electric and a gas-powered car is negligible, if life-cycle emissions (especially the energy cost of recycling batteries) are not taken into account, THE GAS-POWERED CAR TODAY CAUSES LOWER EMISSIONS THAN THE CORRESPONDING ELECTRIC.

Of course, if an electric car is powered by green electricity (e.g. from solar chargers) the direct emissions are theoretically zero, but the same happens if a natural gas car is powered by biomethane. In fact, if the biomethane comes from a biogas plant with a negative footprint (thanks to the reduction of uncontrolled emissions from livestock waste mainly), the gas-powered car wins. In this comparison, the emissions of battery production and recycling are not included.

The logic of evaluating the environmental burden of vehicles by counting only that which takes place in the vehicle (tank-to-wheel) is ostrich-camel and, in the case of the ATH, misleading. The threat of climate change is universal and therefore measuring a vehicle’s GHG emissions in the “tailpipe” is at best willful blindness.

We thus ignore the two most essential emission factors, which are on the one hand the footprint of production and transport of the fuel (in the old term referring to well-to-wheel liquid fuels) and on the other the manufacturing and recycling of the vehicle (cycle footprint life cycle emissions), emissions that occur somewhere else on the planet, but we insist on ignoring in the name of a VIRTUAL de-carbonization.

Thanks to this logic, zero-emission electric vehicles were anointed and the mindless subsidization of both the creation of charging infrastructure and their purchase began.

To be precise, electric cars are a POWER of zero emissions, as are combustion engine cars. Both can be made of low or even zero emissions if they are supplied with green energy, electricity (from RES) or fuel (Biofuels or Hydrogen).

By today’s standards, an electric car is low-emission compared to a liquid fuel equivalent, just as a natural gas car is low-emission. For example, for a car with a small engine, the following emissions are given (in grCO2/km):

Gasoline – Oil 100-120, LPG 106, Natural Gas 85.

The same model, in an electric version, consumes 0.20 kWh/km, electricity which for its production in the national grid (with the current mix of sources) causes emissions (estimated) of 400 grCO2/kWh, i.e. 80 grCO2/km (in the Islands these numbers are about double)

Therefore, the difference in emissions between an electric and a gas car is negligible, unless life cycle emissions (especially the energy cost of recycling the batteries) are taken into account, THE GAS CAR TODAY CAUSES LOWER EMISSIONS THAN THEIR ELECTRIC COMPONENT.

Serious questions are therefore raised:

  • Why have gas engines been excluded from the support measures for low or zero emission vehicles?
  • Why the study on the abolition of heat engines?
  • Why does the purchase grant include vehicles with high engine power?
  • Why are incentives not set for the use of 100% green energy in transport (e.g. traffic)?
  • Why is only electrification infrastructure subsidized?

If to these questions the answer is that these are the main directions from the European Union, we can object that the dominant forces in the EU have a serious incentive to promote electrification, and that is the automobile industry. The electric car costs many times more than the conventional one (in which the gas engine can even be applied as a conversion), it is aimed at high incomes, it is an element of social status and thus becomes the central element in a rapidly developing market interesting for EUROPEAN MANUFACTURERS, which in this way they remain strong in competition with the rest of the world, and especially the Far East.

In Greece, where the economic burden of the electric car can be borne by a minority, the most accessible solution in the direction of accelerating the reduction of GHG emissions is gas propulsion.