During the last decades, there was a significant progress in the reduction of pollution from vehicles. This was achieved in the context of the EU target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol commitment (2013 to 2020). Indeed, according to the report «Trends and projections in Europe 2015» published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), from 1990 to 2014 the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions was decreased by 23%.
The oil industry has played a major part in this achievement, by investing in the production of cleaner gasoline and diesel. This has enabled the use of new technologies for the cleaning of the engines and the exhausts of vehicles. However, an effort to find new ways to improve air quality and the need to achieve 2020 targets, lead to the partial replacement of the traditional motor fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, with alternative or renewable fuels, the boost of electric vehicles use and the implementation of energy saving strategies.
The current sales of alternative or renewable fuels, such as LPG, Natural Gas and Biofuels, are significantly considerable compared to the sales of conventional fuels (gasoline and diesel) and they keep increasing as their technology improves and infrastructure is created. The trading of alternative fuels must be assessed with respect to further development of the conventional fuels, namely gasoline and diesel
Alternative Energy Fuels Are
Liqufied Petroleum Gas
LPG is included systematically in the “alternative” transport fuels listed in the European Union Directives, always aiming at improving the quality of the environment.
The European Union, among other measures, issued Directive 2003/96 on the minimum levels of taxation imposed on energy products.
Auto Gas (LPG) is a legal and legitimate alternative fuel, which is promoted by the European Union (Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament of 8 May 2003), aiming both at:
• Covering the European energy needs and
• Improving the quality of the environment.
There are many benefits that can arise from the alternative use of LPG in car engines such as:
• An alternative solution, especially for the professional drivers
• Reduced particles emission from the exhaust gases. The LPG intended for car engines complies to the Euro V specification
• Harmonization with the directives of the European Union.
Natural gas is a gas mixture of saturated hydrocarbons. It is extracted from underground wells and is considered an ecological fuel, because of its high calorific power, its reduced environmental impact and its efficiency of combustion. The main component of natural gas is methane, but significant amounts of other gases coexist in it. The full liberalization of the Natural Gas Market in our Country is to be completed in 2018, as prescribed by law and in particular by Law 3428/2005.
Natural gas is primarily used to heat residencies, generate heat in industries and generate electricity, but its use is particularly promoted in engines, either as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), mainly in heavy vehicles, or as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), primarily for the propulsion of ships. The use of natural gas as a motor fuel requires significant investment in infrastructure, but international legislation on environmental protection, its adequacy -because of shale gas production (Shale Gas)- and its low cost, lead to the creation of infrastructure.
Biofuels are the fuels produced from renewable energy sources (mostly from energy plants and other organic materials). These fuels provide many advantages to the transport sector and can contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emitted from the transportation vehicles. Biofuels limit the dependence on diesel, contributing to a more secure energy supply. Biofuels may also provide the EU farmers with alternative sources of income.
Biofuels fall under two main categories:
Biodiesel is the trade name of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), produced mostly from oil seeds (sunflower, rape, soya) and from animal fats or reused cooking oils. Biodiesel alone or in mixtures substitutes mineral diesel.
Sugary, cellulose or starchy crops can be used as a raw material for the production of bioethanol (wheat, corn, sorghum, sugar beet, etc.). The main method of production is the fermentation of starchy-sugary components for the production of ethanol and the subsequent separation of ethanol from the other components with the method of distillation.Bioethanol is either mixed with gasoline or is originally transformed into antiknock additive (ΕΤΒΕ).
Second generation biofuels
The characterization refers mainly to alcohols from lignite-cellulose compounds or biofuels produced from vaporized biomass (Biomass to Liquid). Currently, the second-generation biofuels are under research or in a pilot demo stage.
The situation in Europe
In May 2003, the European Committee adopted Directive 2003/30/EC [EC, 2003] on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable transport fuels. The Directive sets, as of 2005, a minimum percentage of biofuels to replace diesel and gasoline. Respectively, a standard (EN 15376), has been established for the use of bioethanol and the standard for the use of gasoline (EN 228) has been amended. The directive has resulted in a rapid growth in the production and use of biofuels in the EU. A new Directive Scheme has already been issued. This refers to the Renewable Sources and reinforces biofuels with sustainability certificates. The new directive will be integrated into the national legislations within 2009.
This boosting of biofuels and generally of RES, continued with the adoption of Directives 28/2009 on renewable energy sources (Renewable Energy Directive) -which replaced Directive 30/2003 – and 30/2009 which replaced the 70/98 on the quality of fuel (fuel quality Directive) by the European Commission.
These Directives define sustainability criteria for biofuels, rate substitution targets of conventional fuels in 2020 and the corresponding percentage reductions for greenhouse gases emitted from fuels placed on the EU (GHG).
Directive 30/2009 alters the specifications on diesel (EN590), so that gasoline with 7% biodisel (B7) can be distributed and it also sets standards for gasoline vapor recovery. At the same time, it urges the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to issue a standard for B10.
Greece has established the legal framework on the use of biofuels. Within this framework, Law 3054/02 has been amended to include biofuels, the European standards have been adopted, and Law 3423/05, which included the Directive 30/2003, has been voted. There is also a yearly program regarding the distribution of tax-exempted biodiesel quantities that Refineries must get, mix with conventional diesel and sell to companies. By virtue of Law 3653/2008, bioethanol is included in Law 3423/05. By amending Law 3054/2002, Directives 28/2009 and 30/2009 were incorporated.
Electrification is also significantly promoted, in order to achieve the targets of reducing emissions by 2020. It is considered a very clean solution, since it does not emit pollutants in polluted cities, but it is also economic. The main obstacles for its development are the low range of electric vehicles, the significant recharging time and the lack of public charging facilities. Technology is primarily moving towards the development of batteries, so that electric vehicles will approach the performance of vehicles powered by conventional fuels
Currently in Greece very few pure electric cars -mainly owned by public utilities, municipalities, institutions and individuals- are released. The law provides incentives enhancing electrification, such as the exemption from registration fee and the reduced or zero road tax.
The charging of electric cars can take place in private parking lots equipped with a simple electrical installation. However, this type of charging is slow and requires 7 to 8 hours. For faster charging, a special installation is required. Electricity resale for charging electric cars is nowadays allowed by Law 4277/2014, allowing the installation of non-household chargers and the development of charging systems. Charging installations can be hosted in service stations, public parking lots, exhibitions spaces, the building of Public Power Corporation headquarters and also in municipal facilities.
The protection of the environment is one of the most critical problems of our times. Association’s Member-Companies systematically and continuously try to apply methods that will minimize the environmental effects from their products and operations.
Through a systematic approach, Companies have managed to consolidate environmental awareness in all sectors of their activity, so that the environmental concerns are seriously taken into consideration in every operational decision and action.
Special attention is given to the environmental training of the employees, partners, contracting staff, fuel tank truck drivers, etc., so that all persons involved become aware that caring for the environment is an integral part of all business activities, as well as a duty of all those who participate in these activities.
Member-Companies of the Association participate in various activities for the protection of the environment by cooperating with environmental organizations, which are well known for their actions regarding the protection of wild fauna and flora in our country.
Additionally, Member-Companies, apart from the ongoing training of their personnel and partners for the immediate handling and limiting pollution in case of an accident, have been equipped with all the necessary means to minimize any environmental impacts.
A characteristic element is that all fuel installations, service stations, and fuel distribution trucks have been equipped by Member-Companies with vapor recovery systems (Stage I), so that the overall handling of fuels takes place within a closed circuit in all stages of delivery, in order to reduce risks and to prevent pollutants from escaping into the air.
«Save more than fuel»
On the occasion of the presentation of the positions of the European Refining Industry on Climate Change, FuelsEurope launched, on 2/11/2015, the new “Save More Than Fuel” campaign as a contribution to the effort of the emissions’ reduction through effective driving behavior.
The campaign “Save more than fuel” is a message to stakeholders that the Petroleum Industry contributes to increasing environmental and energy awareness in society, in order to jointly contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and improve the quality of air / environment.
The campaign completely renewed, gives 10 tips for efficient driving to help reduce fuel consumption and contribute to a cleaner and safer lifestyle. We hope you find these tips helpful.