Potential of new, methane-based vehicle systems solutions from a well-to-wheel perspective

Another report from a finished project within the collaborative research program Renewable transportation fuels and systems (Förnybara drivmedel och system) is now available. As a comparative systems study, the project, lead by Lund University, has analysed and described the energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) and cost performance of existing and potential, new, methane-based vehicle systems solutions from a well-to-wheel (WTW) perspective. Other project participants include Bio4Energy (LTU), E.ON, Göteborg Energi, Scania and Volvo.

The study includes both thermal gasification (TG) sys­tems using forest residues, anaerobic digestion (AD) systems using organic waste and residues, and natural gas (NG) systems, as well as different upgrading technologies and distribution systems including compressed and liquefied methane, gas grids and containers transported by trucks etc. The included end-use technologies are light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles using spark-ignited (SI) otto engines and dual-fuel (DF) diesel engines and the reference systems consisted of gaso­line-fuelled, light-duty vehicles and diesel-fuelled, heavy-duty vehicles. The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED), and the methodol­ogy recommended in the ISO standard of life cycle assessment has been the base for the GHG calculations.

Results from the study show that

  • the use of renewable methane vehicle fuel systems leads to significant WTW GHG benefits, compared with fossil-based vehicle fuel systems,
  • the WTW energy efficiency will be comparable or slightly lower than comparable gasoline- and diesel-fuelled vehicles, and that the WTW costs will be comparable or slightly higher, based on current market prices of fossil fuels,
  • the selection of post-treatment and distribution system of renewable methane vehicle fuel systems will be of minor importance regarding the WTW GHG, energy effi­ciency and cost performance..

A general conclusion is that there is an incentive to develop and commercially implement all of the various renewable methane systems that has been assessed in this study. The whole report is accessible at the project site.