3.2.1 Increased deployment of bio-CNG/LNG and hydrogen developments in road transport (trucks and buses)

In the EU, CNG and LNG vehicle adoption has been growing over the past decade—by 5% and 35% annually, respectively, since 2016—for buses and heavy freight trucks in the EU. The use of hydrogen in transport is also gaining traction, especially in the bus segment, which has close to 2,000 buses planned for deployment in the EU in the coming years.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.The use of natural gas for road transport has been around for decades and received increased interest to reduce harmful SOx, NOx and particulate matter emissions coming from other fuels, especially in urban environments. The use of CNG and electricity has been growing in the EU bus and heavy transport segment (Figure 3.11 and Figure 3.12). The adoption of CNG and LNG buses and heavy freight trucks in the EU has grown by 5% and 35%, on average, per year since 2016, respectively. In the bus segment, the use of CNG reached a market penetration of about 2.5% in 2018 (Figure 3.11).124 In heavy duty transport,125 the number of gas-based vehicles grew to over 31,000 vehicles in 2019 (Figure 3.12). These are mainly CNG- and LNG-fuelled vehicles, constituting about 0.6% of the total market of heavy duty vehicles.126

Figure 3.11 and Figure 3.12 show that the use of hydrogen in the EU transport sector is still limited, with only tens of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles registered annually, mainly in the passenger car and bus segments.127 Globally, most fuel cell systems for transport and other applications are shipped to Asia, mainly Japan and South Korea. North America and Europe have smaller shares of total shipped fuel cells, with 14% and 12%, respectively.128 Fuel cell vehicles use onboard stored hydrogen, which is converted with air to water and electricity. The produced electricity is used to drive the vehicle. Hydrogen is stored on vehicles in dedicated tanks at pressures of 35 MPa- 70 MPa. The larger the pressure, the higher the driving range per unit volume.

The use of hydrogen in buses remains very limited, representing less than 0.5% of the market in 2018.124 Local developments towards the rollout of hydrogen-based buses are ongoing, however. In mid-2019, 88 buses were reported to be operational by Horizon Europe, with a further 141 contracted and 1,889 planned for deployment.129 A set of projects targeting multiple EU countries are driving the scale- up of fuel cell buses; these projects include JIVE (300 fuel cell buses in 22 cities in 2020) and H2Bus Europe (1,000 fuel cell buses, of which 200 in 2023). Projects are supported by the FCH JU and the CEF. Project partners claim that the hydrogen from electrolysis will be priced at parity with diesel on a kilometre basis, around €5-€7 /kg depending on local conditions.130

The heavy truck segment is trailing a few years behind the use of hydrogen in buses. Several projects are ongoing, focusing on the development of trucks, real-world testing, and early deployment. These projects typically consist of consortia covering the entire hydrogen truck supply chain, involving hydrogen production, fuel cell manufacturing, and integration. Together, projects like H2Haul and REVIVE aim to deploy around 30 fuel cell trucks in the EU over the next years by testing trucks and improving their technology readiness level.129

In 2018, approximately 9.4% of biomethane was used in CNG and LNG in EU road transport, used either in pure form or blended with natural gas. This share is expected to increase, as biomethane represents 17% of all gas used in road transport across Europe today.

The percentage of biomethane in road transport in the EU tripled between 2010 and 2012 for the share of CNG and LNG vehicles. Since then, the use of biomethane in the EU has remained relatively stable at percentages between 8% and 10%, according to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, with differences between countries (Figure 3.13). In 2018, about 1,8 TWh (154 ktoe, 0,18 bcm) ofbiomethanewasusedintheEUinthetransport sector.127 A positive trend on the use of biomethane is reflected in the 100% biomethane CNG fuelling stations available in, for example, the Netherlands and Sweden.131 In addition, recent data from NGVA Europe shows that 25% of CNG and LNG fuelling stations in Europe are already supplying biomethane today. This represents, on average, 17% of all the gas used in road transport, around 23,4 TWh (2,4 bcm).132

Showcase projects