By Cristina Marcorni, GVR correspondent in Brussels
Meps consider that 2022 would be a more realistic deadline to help carmakers to deal with all the necessary improvements, but in September there will be the vote of the Environment committee, and this will draft the Parliament’s final response.
Cutting greenhouse gases is too important and EU Commission is keen to see the legislation pass as soon as possible, but thinks that the solution comes from efficient vehicles.
And gaseous fuels are part of its strategy to reduce the environmental impact of road transport. The ‘efficient vehicles strategy’ intends to provide a technology neutral policy framework and alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas and biogas, are also considered. The proposal is a vital part of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative ‘Resource-efficient Europe’, which seeks to promote new technologies to modernise and decarbonise the transport sector, thereby contributing to increase competitiveness.
In the short term the EU has already reduced emissions of pollutants such as particulate matter and NOx by setting ever stricter standards. Euro 6 limits for cars and vans and EURO VI for heavy duty vehicles will apply as of 2014. And the Commission thinks that the use of alternative fuels such as liquid biofuels and gaseous fuels to burn in combustion engines and substitute petrol or diesel fuel will further increase the potential of reducing CO2 and pollutant emissions. There is a directive of 2009 that deals with the implementation measures and type-approval for hydrogen mixtures, that could be used as a transition fuel towards the use of pure hydrogen, to facilitate the introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles in Member States where the natural gas infrastructure is good.
The Commission has been called upon by the European Parliament to develop requirements for the use of mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas/biomethane, especially a mixing ratio of hydrogen and gas which takes account of technical feasibility and environmental benefits.
And the Commission may soon adopt, among the implementing measure, the use of pure hydrogen or a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas, and some integrated system safety requirements, covering at least the detection of leakage and requirements relating to purge gas.
Starting from the end of next February, an EC type-approval for a new vehicle type will be mandatory and, as a voluntary option, possible as of the entry into force of its implementing measures.
This article was published in the August edition of The GVR. You can download the complete issue for free, by clicking: http://www.ngvjournal.com/en/the-gvr.php