Climate protection in practice: Recognising Power to Gas as a biofuel

dena Strategy Platform calls for amendment of the Federal Emission Control Act

Gas generated from renewable electricity can contribute towards a significant reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the transport sector. To achieve this, the Federal Emission Control Act must be swiftly amended. This is the position of the Power to Gas Strategy Platform set up by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) - the German Energy Agency. Among other reasons, the Platform published this opinion in response to the latest statement issued by the expert commission on the energy transition monitoring report according to which the measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not sufficient to achieve the defined climate protection targets. In the transport sector, target attainment is particularly precarious since CO2 emissions have actually risen slightly since 1990.

"With Power to Gas, we can set an immediate sign for the energy transition in the transport sector," says Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive of dena. "To use this potential, the products generated with the help of Power to Gas, hydrogen and synthetic methane, must be recognised as biofuels. This is essential if they are to contribute to the achievement of our climate targets."

Thanks to the September 2015 amendment of the EU directives relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and the promotion of the use of energy from renewable energy sources, this recognition has already been given at the EU level. A respective amendment of the Federal Emission Control Act will also place Germany in a position to add renewable fuels generated from renewable electricity instead of biomass to the list of biofuels.

Advantages of Power to Gas as a fuel
Electricity-based fuels generated with the Power to Gas method have a large capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A further advantage is their significantly lower impact on land use compared with plant-based biofuels. The fuels generated with Power to Gas are therefore generally a worthwhile and necessary addition to previously employed biomass fuels which, on their own, are insufficient to cover future demand.

No infrastructural or technical adjustments are necessary for the integration of renewable methane into the fuel market. Germany already has around 100,000 registered natural gas-powered cars which can run on synthetic methane made from renewable electricity without any retrofitting.

Hydrogen produced with the Power to Gas method can also be used in the manufacture of conventional petrol and diesel fuels in refineries where hydrogen, which has so far predominantly been generated from fossil sources, is required for desulphurisation, among other uses. The employment of renewable hydrogen in the refining process reduces greenhouse gas emissions produced by fossil fuels.

Detailed information on the opportunities offered by Power to Gas and on dena's Strategy Platform is available at www.powertogas.info.