VP, Traffic, Gasum
Gas connects front runners
Consumers’ growing environmental awareness is driving businesses towards increasingly lower-emissions solutions. Besides this, numerous goals and targets as well as various policy instruments are accelerating this development. There is a high ambition in the Nordics to transit to a cleaner tomorrow and to achieve this, cooperation between different actors is essential. There is not a single winning solution to solve this challenge. However, gas can enable rapid and cost-effective change already today. I am also convinced, that front-runners will be rewarded in this race, too.
Use of gas is growing globally. This will help to quickly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and with gas combustion there are no particulates to ruin the air we breathe. Gas has the advantage of performing in sub-zero temperatures and on calm or rainy days, and the gas ecosystem is well integrated into our electricity system. In the Nordic countries, gas has great potential and the use of gas is growing in industry and in road and maritime transport. Simply by replacing coal with natural gas in Finland means we could reach a carbon emission reduction equivalent of 60-70 per cent of the annual emissions from passenger car traffic.
Transport plays a key role in almost all goods and service offerings. In a country where distances are long, there will continue to be a great need for mobility. Actually, maritime and road transport segments’ annual use of energy in the Nordics is almost as big as the entire industry sector’s use of energy. EU and national climate targets are strongly committed to cutting transport emissions. In addition to new vehicle emissions standards, the Commission considers that lifecycle and socio-economic impacts must also be taken into account when reducing emissions. Gas is a cost-effective way to meet the targets already today in all vehicle segments. As the network of gas filling stations expands, gas mobility will increasingly connect more people across the countries.
Biogas is circular economy at its best. It is completely renewable energy and suitable for all gas-powered vehicles. When considering the value chain emission reductions of biogas, we can even reach over 100 per cent emission reduction by using biogas in the road transport segment. This is good to remember, as in certain cases around 50 per cent emission reduction is needed to fulfill the criteria of a renewable fuel. The biogas potential in the Nordics is about 40 per cent of all the energy used by road transport – this potential must not be left untapped! In addition, biogas offers a great way to connect different sectors as the biogas production uses waste and side streams and the nutrients and fertilizer generated in biogas production can be used in agriculture or in industry.
The number of gas-powered vehicles is growing in all segments, the technology has been proven and is cost-effective. We now need to step up the pace of this change. New, energy-efficient gas-powered trucks are already connecting numerous logistics users and service providers. This is what ranks them among the front-runners.
Writer is Jukka Metsälä, Gasum, Vice President, Traffic