The use of LNG for road transportation. Regulations, standards and technologies
Natural gas is a fast growing source both as regards resources (shale gas) and uses. At the international level, the USA and emerging Asian Countries, which are the center of global energy consumption, are increasing the use of gas in traditional sectors (industry, thermoelectric and residential) and are adopting LNG for road and rail transport. The use of LNG for long-distance road transportation was also identified as an option by the “proposal for a directive on the development of infrastructures of alternative fuels”, published by the European Commission at the beginning of 2013. Today, although transporting liquid methane by tanker truck is already regulated, there is not yet any UE or national legislation which regulates the installation and use of cryogenic tanks on board trucks and cars for supplying LNG. In some UE countries, relevant authorities granted waivers for the use of LNG-powered vehicles, by building upon current international regulations. This will allow for monitoring the efficiency of those vehicles (monitoring phase) for a couple of years in order to regulate their use. In Italy, where companies producing industrial LNG-powered vehicles are at the cutting-edge both in engine design and liquid methane logistics, it is not possible to use road vehicles powered by methane liquid except on an experimental basis and upon release of a specific authorization from the institutions. The workshop represented an important forum for institutions, associations and companies with concerns and expertise in the Italian LNG chain for road transportation. The aim was to focus on the regulatory aspects that still needed to be developed and to stimulate a constructive debate among all the stakeholders.