E.ON Ruhrgas to Open 150 NGV Filling Stations on German Motorways; 10% Biomethane Component by 2010
03 December 2006
During the next two years, E.ON Ruhrgas will open about 150 filling stations on German motorways for natural gas vehicles (NGVs). There are currently about 750 NGV fueling stations in the country.
In 2007, the company will set up an initial 60-70 new filling stations, with another 60 to 70 stations to follow in 2008. E.ON Ruhrgas is spending a total of up to €36 million (US$48 million) on this expansion.
E.ON Ruhrgas is establishing a new subsidiary for this task: E.ON Gas Mobil. It will build the new stations in cooperation with leading petroleum companies in Germany.
Natural gas has great potential as a motor fuel. It is not only considerably cheaper than petrol and diesel, but is also very favorable for the environment. By establishing E.ON Gas Mobil we are sending a clear signal for the further development of this market. At the same time we continue to cooperate with German car makers offering attractive models.—Dr. Bernhard Reutersberg, member of the E.ON Ruhrgas AG Board of Management and Chairman of the E.ON Gas Mobil Supervisory Board
The environmental advantages of natural gas as a motor fuel can be further enhanced by the use of bio natural gas (biomethane) obtained and processed from renewable resources. In a voluntary commitment, the gas industry has pledged to add up to 10% biomethane to the natural gas volumes provided for the motor fuel market by 2010.
Biomethane is suitable as a fuel for NGVs without any restrictions. In 2020, enough biomethane could be available to fuel more than four million NGVs in Germany.
(A hat-tip to John!)
I'm guessing it's easier to produce bio-methane from agricultural waste than cellulose ethanol or BTL. If so, this is yet another route to reducing energy dependence on foreign sources, in this case on Russian gas.
In terms of CO2 emissions, a monovalent-plus CNG engine featuring an elevated compression ratio and a three-way catalyst is comparable to those of a diesel engine yielding similar vehicle acceleration.
The snag is that the heavy CNG tanks add both initial cost and weight to the vehicle. Afaik, there are currently no vehicles whose frames are designed specifically for CNG use, in which the bulky tank(s) double(s) as (a) structural member(s).
Moreover, if NG fuel is added in the intake manifold (PFI layout), it displaces air volume and reduces the engine's specific power rating. A super- or turbocharger is required to compensate.
However, MAN recently introduced an indirect-injection technology called PGI for its large, stationary NG engines. Besides increasing specific power over PFI, this also eliminates the need for spark plugs, which suffer accelerated wear and tear when using NG fuel.
Research is also continuing on direct injection NG engines. Provided the gas is introduced early, a homogeneous charge can be produced prior to ignition. In that case, PM formation is negligible.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 03 December 2006 at 12:25 PM
Imagine the delivery system in the U.S. The NG comes by pipeline and no large dual trailer gasoline trucks roaring down the highway to fill the gas station tanks. No pollution while the trucks are filling and emptying. No fire or explosion danger and no monopoly over fuels that you must get from the refiner/oil company.
Posted by: SJC | 03 December 2006 at 01:22 PM
i can see putin smile
Posted by: sebastian | 03 December 2006 at 01:22 PM
If that happens, I can see the material, specialty labor and construction costs go sky high. Natural gas pipelines are usually made from steel. The system is not well secured, and many sections are not in good shape. Even if you use existing networks, the system is aging and there have been accidents with leaking piplines, resulting in fireballs and fatalities. Whats more, CH4 is one potent GHG. A shift from liquid to gas hydrocarbons could result in a small, but significant increase in GHG emissions.
_There are a few workarounds, such as building biomethane/LFG production near major population centers. That way, you can either tap the existing network, or build a few large pipes directly to the metro area at reduced costs.
_Since it would be something that would be a cross between a landfill, rail yard, truck yard, barge landing, electrical plant, and an petroleum refinery/chemical factory, there would be the problem of NIMBY, and zoning/land use laws.
_As for the aging gas network, gas tight liners and plain old, but expensive replacement would be the obvious fixes. The problem is how do you get the firms that run and maintain those pipes to fix the issue of long term viability of these pipelines.
_How is it over in Europe? I'd imagine it would be better since they were built in the 50's through 70's (due to destruction of WWII), instead of 50-100 years old.
Posted by: allen_Z | 03 December 2006 at 02:52 PM
the gas pipelines and local distribution infrastructure is generally very well maintained in Europe. The Russians are charging us an arm and a leg, though the French got a better deal because they argued they could always heat with nuclear power instead.
There is, however, allegedly plenty of leakage in the pipeline sections in Siberia. A lot of associated gas is also flared off by the Russians because the cost of shipping it would be too high. Perhaps some kind soul could persuade them to develop some small-scale GTL plants.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 03 December 2006 at 03:16 PM
Rafael, please use HTML for hyperlinks instead of just pasting URL's; they are much more convenient.
SJC, consider the delivery of energy via wires instead. Cleaner than gas, can be generated from energy sources which cannot make methane, and no way to deliver from Russia. You can even put fuel cells at the landfills to convert methane to electricity at 60+% efficiency and move the energy out over wires.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 03 December 2006 at 08:14 PM
engineer-poet, just copy and paste the links into your adress bar........
Posted by: Bud Johns | 04 December 2006 at 03:36 AM
As said earlier, Putin is smiling.
Russia is going to have Europe by the balls (more so) if they keep increasing their NG use.
NG does not belong in the transportation sector.
Posted by: darwin | 04 December 2006 at 07:14 AM
I would say that if Germany thought EVs were the way to go, they would be putting in 5 minute 50kWh charging stations all along the highway. Maybe they have not seen that miracle battery yet.
Posted by: SJC | 04 December 2006 at 07:20 AM
NG (methane) can be a renewable fuel, just like hydrogen. Algae oil from photosynthetic pond fertilized with high CO2 concentration can be converted to methane and H2 as transportation fuel. Likewise, coal can also be converted to H2 and methane for the transportation sector. Fossil NG supply eventually will run out, and may be sooner than petroleum or coal. Putin won't be smiling forever.
Posted by: Roger Pham | 04 December 2006 at 10:37 AM
All more the reason to follow the Swedes and go biomethane. Take a page from the Japanese and have citizens presort their garbage. That way, fewer recylables end up in landfills, and material fit for BTL (dry/moist material) would be separate from biomethane stock (wet material). Sewage sludge could have oils separated from first, make CH4 second, dewatered and be used in compost(or gasified if economical) last. Agri/forestry waste and biomass crops would round out the picture.
Posted by: allen_Z | 04 December 2006 at 12:07 PM
if you have a miracle battery (i.e. a Li-ion pack that is actually shipping in volume at reasonable prices), please post the pics. Note that MB is working on a PHEV variant of its Sprinter van. It's not that German manufacturers are not aware of BEVs. It's just that the battery technology required is not performant or cost-effective yet. Also, electricity rates in Germany are among the highest in Europe.
garbage separation is the norm in Western Europe, where there's little or no land left for new landfills. I have dumpsters for half a dozen different types of waste around the corner from where I live: metals, plastic, two for glass, paper/cardboard and general waste. Things like batteries, chemicals and electronics are collected separately.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 04 December 2006 at 03:47 PM
The "miracle battery" was a bit of irony..I guess I should have used a happy face :) I can understand why they have NG fueling stations, they are selling NG cars. Yes, SNG can be made from biomass by gasification and would be CO2 neutral. If I did not want to be dependant of a foreign source for NG, I would put some tax dollars into SNG...ASAP.
Posted by: SJC | 04 December 2006 at 04:42 PM
Rafael, it takes at least six operations to paste a text link, only one to control-click a hyperlink. Your savings come at the cost of readers, and there are a lot more people reading than posting.
SJC, the "miracle batteries" are HERE. They are even coming to retail (though not quite here yet). And I should say, car makers would be much more likely to bring them to market if governments showed as much support for charging stations as filling stations.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 04 December 2006 at 07:09 PM
As I recall, back when the EV1 was out, there were charging stations here and there, but none could charge 50kWh in 5 minutes...not even close.
Posted by: SJC | 04 December 2006 at 08:30 PM
And they would have been useless even if they had been installed, because the EV1's batteries couldn't charge that fast.
You might have noticed that this isn't going to be the case much longer. It's time to plan for the future.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 05 December 2006 at 04:15 AM
Speaking of planning for the future, there is a small company in Idaho called Intrepid Technolgy inc. that is converting methane from cow manure into pipeline gas. I believe they also own their own fueling station that powers some fleet vehicles. The future is here.
Posted by: waldo | 08 December 2006 at 09:17 PM
Nice, but I meant US/Canada.
Posted by: allen_Z | 12 December 2006 at 03:26 PM
Sorry Let me try this again
Rationing will result from $15/gallon gas
Posted by: Connard | 29 May 2008 at 08:45 PM