Biomethane: London’s answer to saving thousands of lives

In the week in which senior industry leaders came together at ADBA’s second UK Biomethane & Gas Vehicle Conference to discuss the sector’s strong growth and limiting factors, the Mayor of London has appeared before the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee over concerns that London continues to breach European laws on air pollution after almost five years. Current expectations are that London is not expected to meet the EU standards on nitrogen dioxide pollution until 2030, which is a matter of great concern to Londoners as research commissioned by the Mayor suggests that the city’s pollution levels cost 4,300 lives each year. Conceding that more can be done, Boris Johnson said, “there are great things we could do with low carbon vehicles, with stimulating the market for low carbon vehicles.” In response, ADBA is emphasising the important role that biomethane can play in improving poor air quality in our towns and cities. During the biomethane conference, was reported the potential benefits of using biomethane as including: 80 – 90% reduction in Nox; 95% reduction in particulate emissions; 20-30% reduction in carbon dioxide levels; 78 pence per litre equivalent costs; and a payback period of 12-24 months. Mr Johnson’s solution, however, rests with electric cars at a time when industry regulator, Ofgem, has reported that spare electricity power production capacity could fall to 2% by 2015; dramatically increasing the risk of blackouts. In addition, according to the Gas Vehicle Alliance, electric cars are still responsible for 75gCO2 eq./km in greenhouse emissions compared to just 5gCO2 eq./km for biomethane. With strong growth in the use of road gas, a more targeted approach towards converting London’s biggest polluters -such as HGVs, vans and buses which contribute around 40% of the UK’s vehicle emissions- could significantly reduce associated environmental and health risks.

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