First delivery of EnviTec Biomethane to bio-CNG Filling Station in Yantai, China
EnviTec Biogas scores with EnviThan gas upgrading in the Far East
Lohne, 23 March 2017 – Environmental awareness is growing in China, and with it the market for CNG (compressed natural gas). Compressed gas for eco-friendly drivers is now already offered at several filling stations in the eastern Chinese port city of Yantai. One of these is now taking deliveries of biomethane from two 1,000 Nm³/h EnviThan gas upgrading plants manufactured by EnviTec Biogas AG.
“Our customer, Shandong Minhe Biological Sci-tech Co. Ltd, supplies the raw gas from the existing biogas plant,” explains Stefan Laumann, Head of Gas Upgrading at EnviTec’s plant construction division. A recently installed CNG plant compresses the biomethane from around 13.5 bar to 200 bar in CNG tube trailers. The first trailer for delivery to Yantai, a trip of around 90 minutes by road, was filled on 12 March. “At Yantai, CNG is mostly used by cars and taxis,” Laumann continues.
Equipped with SEPURAN® Green membranes, the EnviThan gas upgrading plant run by Shandong Minhe Biological Sci-tech is also the largest plant featuring this membrane technology in the Chinese market. Based on Penglai, Shandong province, the company is one of the world’s largest poultry producers – its biogas plants are run exclusively on poultry litter.
An energy rethink needed in the transport sector
To be able to use gas as a fuel, the first step is using EnviThan technology to upgrade it to high-purity methane, whose quality is equivalent to that of fossil natural gas. “The biomethane created in this step is then compressed under very high pressure to create commercial biogas fuel,” Laumann explains.
“Our customers in China have been quick to grasp the advantages of CNG as a carbon-neutral fuel,” says Jürgen Tenbrink, CTO at EnviTec Biogas AG. “Back home, however, climate policy goals will not be achieved without Germany’s energy transformation also being applied to the transport sector.” While Germany also acknowledges the advantages of bio CNG as a carbon-neutral fuel, progress in developing the necessary infrastructure has been sluggish to date.
Yet the Natural Gas Mobility initiative launched by dena (the German Energy Agency) is cautiously optimistic that expansion of the CNG market will now finally be possible. At the moment, natural gas and biomethane account for just 0.35% of domestic fuel sales in Germany. The initiative estimates that market development would become self-sustained from a share of around four percent. In a recent statement, dena notes that the lack of an ambitious, technology-neutral policy for promoting alternative fuels and drive systems means that this target is still unlikely to be met before 2026.
The recent amendment to German energy and electricity tax legislation is to be welcomed, however. “The tax relief for CNG vehicles, which was due to expire in 2018, has now been extended to 2026,” says Jürgen Tenbrink. This is clearly a pro-CNG and contra-LPG move – since the tax relief for LPG cars will expire as previously announced on 31 December 2018.
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