Alternative fuels: Europe and Italy

Alternative fuels: Europe and Italy

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Alternative fuels to oil, something is moving. On April 15 the European Parliament will vote on the Directive on alternative fuels - yes is taken for granted given that the law has passed all the foreseen procedures - and for the first time we will have a clear sign of how Europe intends to manage the fuel issue in the future.

Speaking of transport, 94% of them in Europe today depend on oil. And the crude oil for 84% of the requirement is imported. Economic dependence and environmental crisis, Europe says today considering that many heavy vehicles are still at the Euro0 stage, they can be resolved with alternative fuels: electricity and methane, especially biomethane.

It is pleasing to underline that the rapporteur in Europe of the Directive on alternative fuels is the MEP Carlo Fidanza, an Italian therefore, whom we interviewed on Friday 4 April at the 'I alternative fuels for sustainable transport 'organized in Milan by the' Strade d’Europa 'association.

"We are at a significant step - said Fidanza - after starting with a Commission proposal and a first report, voted overwhelmingly by Parliament, which was even more ambitious. The resistance of some Member States and the fear that the effects of the Directive could fall on the budgets have produced a negotiation downwards compared to the initial hypothesis, but positive because it overcomes the age-old obstacle of there is no network so there is no market , there is no market so no network ”.

The initial version of the Directive provided for the precise number of electric charging points that each country should have foreseen by 2020, complete with a detailed numerical annex. The one being approved is softer and generically speaks of coverage of urban and extra-urban nodes by 2020, with an extension to 2025 for motorways. Fidanza called it a foot in the door: "However, it is a constraint - he said - that will require states to put charging points on the network, and which we expect will lead to the expansion of the electric car market with consequent lower prices ".

The mandatory indications contained in the Directive on alternative fuels concern the recharging points to be provided in urban and suburban agglomerations, which must be at least one in ten electric cars, and the technical specifications of the columns: equipped with Type 2 sockets, normal ones and Combo 2 connectors in the case of columns high power. The text also speaks of wireless technologies for recharging and exchanging batteries, but without specific indications.

As regards compressed natural gas, methane and biomethane, the Directive on alternative fuels provides that countries will have to define the number of plants in urban and suburban centers by 2020, and that starting from 2025 the maximum distance between one distributor and the other on the extra-urban network must be 150 km. Methane and biomethane, as was underlined during the conference, are an important topic for Italy given our country's tradition in this sector. Also in light of the interministerial decree of December 2013 which authorizes the use of biomethane, obtained from agricultural biogas, in the automotive sector, in the national gas network and in high-efficiency cogeneration.

Yes, but the times? When will we really see a Europe traveling to alternative fuels and who is released from dependence on oil? "The entry into force of the Directive is expected at the end of the summer - says Fidanza - after which Member States will have 24 months available for transposition. Italy's task at that point will be to incorporate the measure well, which is not obvious because it does not always happen. The terror, not only in Italy, is that the Directive could weigh on the public coffers. In the light of the experiences, however, there are excellent possibilities of triggering a positive public-private spiral that will benefit everyone ”.

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