The European Commission Presented the Strategy of the Development of the Clean Fuel Infrastructure in the European Union

2013 February 6


In January, the European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. This strategy includes compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).  The European Commission stated that policy initiatives so far pursuing to stimulate the establishment of the united system have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient.  The EC stated that in present clean fuel was being held back by three main barriers: the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations. It is a vicious circle. Refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand. Consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there.

The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.  These common requirements of recharging/refuelling points for CNG and LNG for maritime waterborne and road transport shall be established before 2015 at the latest.

The Commission is proposing that, by 2020, along the roads of the Trans-European Transport Core Network refuelling stations are installed every 400 km. There are 38 LNG filling stations in the EU. It is estimated that 181 LNG refuelling stations will be built for LNG heavy duty vehicles.

In the EU, there are one million of vehicles running with compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel, which represents 0.5% of the EU total vehicle fleet. The rule proposed by the European Commission will ensure that a sufficient number of publicly accessible refuelling points are available, with maximum distances of 150 km, to allow the circulation of CNG vehicles Union-wide.

Common standards for hydrogen refuelling stations across Europe also must be designed and implemented.  14 member states already have operated such stations, and Germany, Italy and Denmark already have a significant number of hydrogen refuelling stations; however the majority of them are not publicly accessible.

No public spending is required for the build-up of alternative transport fuel infrastructure if the Member States use the wide range of measures available to mobilise private investment cost-efficiently.  The EU support has been already available from the TEN-T Programme Budget, Cohesion and Structural Funds.

(source )