Bio-LNG can support Europe’s journey towards sustainable mobility by 2050
Biomethane as a transport fuel provides a sustainable and readily available alternative for conventional transport fuels. A recent paper shows that by 2050 liquified biomethane (bio-LNG) can reduce GHG emissions in the transport sector by 95% to 174%. This scenario is particularly encouraging for the maritime sector as it meets the target of 75% GHG emissions reduction by 2050 set in EU legislation .
According to the European Environmental Agency, transport is responsible for 27% of Europe’s total GHG emissions and is a major contributor to climate change. The European Commission has recently set a target to increase the share of renewable energy in transport to at least 14% by 2030, including a minimum share of 3.5% of advanced biofuels. One of the options for the fast decarbonisation of the transport sector is to use bio-LNG, produced from organic residues and resulting from the purification of biogas. This renewable fuel is readily available for use at scale and with infrastructure in place.
The paper authored by Floris Goedhart “Sustainable mobility in Europe: Potential market share for bio-LNG in the heavy-duty transport and maritime sectors in 2050” also illustrates that the share of bio-LNG in heavy-duty vehicles and maritime transport in 2050 are equally promising. His research shows that by 2050 the bio-LNG production could amount to 46 – 405 TWh, representing between 1.7% (lowest scenario) and 18.7% (highest scenario) of European transport energy consumption. The market share of bio-LNG could be at least 57% in the heavy-duty vehicles sector or 17% in the maritime sector.
“For transport decarbonisation to speed up, all sustainable renewable fuels are necessary. Bio-LNG is the most readily available solution to decarbonise transport in Europe, especially heavy-duty and maritime sectors. Unlike other renewable alternatives, it can benefit from the existing LNG infrastructure.”, explains Floris Goedhart.
The transition to decarbonisation has already started. Europe has been experiencing a development of bio-LNG plants in the past years. According to the EBA Statistical Report 2022, there were 15 active bio-LNG producing plants in Europe by the end of 2021. This number is expected to increase sharply with 100 new bio-LNG projects confirmed by 2025, representing a total production capacity of 12.4 TWh per year.
“In Europe, hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as the heavy-duty vehicle and the maritime sectors, release a substantial amount of the total GHG emissions of European transport. These emissions need to be reduced quickly and bio-LNG has potential to do this. The results of this study can hopefully contribute to securing long-term implementation of bio-LNG in the European transport sector.”, concludes Floris Goedhart.
About the author: Floris Goedhart joined the EBA Secretariat in July 2022 for a six-months internship as part of his European Master of Science in Renewable Energy. His work focussed on the potential of bio-LNG to decarbonise the transport sector and support Europe’s renewable journey.
 On 14 July 2021, the European Commission presented the FuelEU Maritime proposal introducing a target of 75% of GHG emissions reductions from the maritime sector from 1 January 2050 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2021/0562/COM_COM(2021)0562_EN.pdf