The European project called GasHighWay aimed at promoting the uptake of gaseous vehicle fuels, namely biomethane and CNG, and especially the realisation of a comprehensive network of refuelling stations for these fuels spanning Europe from the north, Finland and Sweden, to the south, Italy – in other words: the GasHighWay.
Europe invests in biomethane and CNG. A huge amount of promotion and activation work has been done through the GasHighWay-project. In total 23 gas refueling stations have been promoted with direct technical support and feasibility studies. Many of these cases are on investment stage, and if all the cases will be realized, this would mean an investment of at least 7 million euros.
More than 40 company fleet operators have been supported to uptake gas vehicles. This includes more than 300 buses, waste disposal collectors, trucks and light duty vehicles. The operators have gained substantial information regarding the gas vehicles. For example Czech Post has an interest to obtain 412 methane driven vehicles, meaning around 4 million euros investment.
In addition more than 20 cases for biogas production and upgrading have been actively supported through the GasHighWay project. If realized, these would contribute to investments of more than 80 million euros.
Clear environmental benefit can be seen through these activities, for example in Italy the uptake of gas vehicles (30 buses, 59 mini waste collectors, 27 trucks and 104 light duty vehicles) would reduce annually up to 12 000 tons of CO2 and 1.5 tons of particulate emissions, respectively. Similar CO2 emission reduction could be obtained in Finland if all four promoted biogas production and upgrading plants will be constructed.
Biogas production and upgrading has successfully been promoted in cases of Finland, Germany and Italy. In Estonia a company converting petrol and diesel vehicles to gas vehicles has been shown as a success story due to GasHighWay project. In Poland PIMOT will establish a CNG refueling station and boost the market development. The uptake of methane fuelled vehicles has been selected as successful case in Czech Republic and Austria.
The GasHighWay project has produced several valuable tools, publications, and user friendly map solutions to show to company fleet operators and private persons that gas vehicles are reasonable, cheap and environment friendly alternative and today’s technology that is ready to be used. An example of a produced software is the EcoFleet Scan tool that can be used to calculate the economic and environmental impact of gas vehicles for example in company vehicle fleet.
One of the main tasks of the GasHighWay project was political interaction. Changes in political situations regarding the use of biogas and natural gas in many countries have occurred during the project period. A lot of work has been done in this field, for example preparation of appeals and declarations for politicians, contacting and activating political decision makers and influencing the legal authorities on European and national levels to affect to inadequate policies, standards, and laws related to gas vehicles and methane as a fuel.
Practically all the facts related to gas vehicles and methane as a fuel are positive and support the European target of moving towards environmentally sustainable transportation. It has therefore been a significant part of the GasHighWay project to disseminate the positive facts among decision makers on European and national level as well as among company personnel and citizens. The general awareness of gas vehicles has effectively been risen and more than 4000 persons contacted due to the national events organized by GasHighWay project. In addition NGVA Europe has successfully communicated and promoted the GasHighWay actions and results to policy makers at European Commission level and in the European Parliament, and organized the GasHighWay final conference in Brussels with attendance of 110 participants from over 20 different countries.
Sweden as a forerunner in biomethane market build up in Europe has acted as an example for European countries involved in GasHighWay project. The Swedish example has shown how local and regional action in public-private partnerships, together with supportive national policies, are key ingredients in the promotion and building of a prolific NGV market. Also, it illustrates that biomethane has an added promotional value, enforcing the market growth of the joint utilisation of natural gas and biomethane in NGV’s.