The transport sector in Europe is responsible for about 20% of total GHG emissions in the EU in 2012. In its Transport White Paper of 2011, a high level objective of a 60% reduction by 2050 has been set by the EU Commission using a range of new technologies, new fuels and energy efficiency improvements for the sector.
Also in the Netherlands clear targets have been defined in the Long Term Energy and Climate Agreement (SER Energie Accoord 2013), the Dutch roadmap towards a decarbonized economy by 2050. To meet the objectives of this Agreement, the Netherlands even is aiming to reduce the carbon emissions in transport by about 80% in 2050.
This means on the long term that many vehicles have to drive emission free but in order to get there, a transition from the current situation with fossil fuels is needed. Natural gas and LNG represent an excellent opportunity to act as the necessary transition fuel. Its associated CO2 emissions are already significantly lower than conventional fuels and it is available now. We can start the decarbonisation of transport today with LNG as a transition fuel for truck transport and (inland) shipping, creating time this way for necessary technological developments for a large scale breakthrough of electric and hydrogen based transport. Infrastructure to provide the LNG fuel via refueling stations to end consumers is available (19 in total at the end of 2015).
The Ministry of I&M has guided during 2014/2015 an extensive discussion for over a year with many different stakeholders to create a certain consensus about which fuel is to be used for which transport segment. Purpose has been to define the optimum fuel for each transport segment in the Netherlands with the ultimate aim to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from the sector by 80% compared to the levels in 2010, in line with the SER Agreement.
The Fuel Mix Debate concluded that LNG was the right fuel to apply for long distance trucking, for inland vessels and for sea-going vessels. During the first decade to come it also is expected to play an important role in the city distribution activities.