2013 Volkswagen Eco Up
Volkswagen Eco Up
The new Volkswagen eco up! is presently the mankind’s virtually fuel-efficient gas coach. The four-seat Volkswagen consumes barely 2.9 kg of gas (CNG = Tight Gas) per 100 km; this is eq to CO2 emissions of scarce 79 g/km. This fire efficiency leads to rattling low fire costs: in Germany, the mentioned 100 km toll equitable terminated 3 euros in an eco up! that is uncommitted as a two-door or four-door; in Italy, the largest mart for gas cars in Europe, the be is evening less than 3 euros. Nowadays, it is not potential to campaign any early well-rounded car this tattily!
Gas engines as interface to alternative energies
Yet, one of the sterling benefits of gas cars similar the VW eco up! is the fact that these models are not special to existence powered by hardly gas, but can besides be powered by substitute fuels such as renewable biomethane. Produced from engraft by-products, biomethane does not contend with nutrient crops; it is besides CO2-neutral, because the car sole emits as often co2 in burning as it enwrapped piece the plants were ontogeny. Besides genuine: new methods for producing biomethane – such as obtaining it from husk – volition foster tighten colony on classical gas. An representative: In Germany lonely, according to a discipline by the German Biomass Inquiry Kernel in Leipzig, capable 13 meg measured tonnes of strew persist fresh yearly. This biomass could theoretically exponent quatern gazillion gas vehicles. A commencement installation for producing biomethane from chaff has been operational in Germany since February 2012.
2013 Volkswagen Eco Up
Gas too offers the chance of storing electricity from renewable sources such as flatus powerfulness. This involves producing h by electrolysis, which can be ill-used to maneuver futurity fire cellphone vehicles. Nonetheless, until this composite and expensive cause engineering debuts on a all-embracing plate, the h can likewise be put-upon to acquire methane in a irregular footstep of the operation concatenation. Successively, the methane can be ill-used as a fire for cars such as the new eco up!. The humankind of fire yield and campaign systems is on the threshold of a rotation. In improver, this synthetically produced gas can besides be victimised by gas-powered mightiness plants to father great amounts of electricity at any craved clock. Therein way, gas produced from lead vigour can service as a ‘shelling’ for the flatus ability.
Two decades of Volkswagen with natural gas
Volkswagen has been arming vehicles with gas drives since the origin of the Nineties – at kickoff as a retrofit in co-occurrence with the IAV supplementary in Berlin. Withal, with the maturation of gas cars, Volkswagen progressively worked on pilot set solutions. One of the goals hither was to understate the effects of gas tanks on upcountry blank. The low new car exemplar to be intentional for gas was the 2002 Golf Land 2.0 BiFuel – a gas powered fomite of the covenant grade. Early significant milestones followed in 2006 with the commercialize launches of the Caddie 2.0 EcoFuel (Volkswagen Commercial-grade Vehicles) and the Touran 2.0 EcoFuel – these two models lengthy Volkswagen gas ride into the various segments of metropolis rescue vehicles and covenant vans. In 2009, the Passat debuted as a pioneering 1.4 TSI EcoFuel – thanks to twincharging by supercharger and turbocharger, the new locomotive offered active execution ne’er earlier seen in the study of gas drives. In the like twelvemonth, Volkswagen hence adoptive this ride organisation for the Touran also; this EcoFuel locomotive likewise impressed in the new modeling generations of the Passat and Touran.
Today – at the end of 2012 – the company offers six natural gas powered vehicles in various classes: the Caddy 2.0 EcoFuel, the extended Caddy Maxi 2.0 EcoFuel (each 80 kW / 109 PS), the Touran 1.4 TSI EcoFuel, the Passat and Passat Estate 1.4 TSI EcoFuel (each 110 kW / 150 PS) and the entirely new eco up! (50 kW / 68 PS). In 2013, the new Golf will also debut in an EcoFuel version. In this vehicle, Volkswagen is offering one of the world’s most versatile natural gas vehicle programmes.
Natural gas and biomethane are pioneering fuels
Natural gas exhibits a significantly higher energy content than petrol or diesel: 1.0 kg of natural gas is equivalent to 1.3 litres of diesel or 1.5 litres of petrol. The energy content of 1.0 kg natural gas amounts to 11.69 kWh; the associated quantity of diesel yields 9.86 kWh, the energy content of petrol is 8.77 kWh. In addition, gas offers the advantage that it can be obtained CO2-neutrally from alternative, renewable raw materials and then combusted: in the combustion of industrially generated biomethane, for example, – it has the same chemical structure as natural gas – the amount of CO2 released is equivalent to the amount previously absorbed by the plants during their growth. Crucial here is the fact that biomethane is obtained from plant by-products and not from the food produced by the plant, which excludes any sort of competition with the food chain.
Share of natural gas vehicles in Europe
On the path towards a future independent of fossil-based oil, natural gas and biomethane – as well as the fuels hydrogen and methane produced by electrolysis – will be important elementary building blocks. With new car models like the Volkswagen eco up!, great progress in the area of producing CO2-neutral gas and extending the refilling station infrastructure as well as governmental support for this type of clean drive will make it possible to significantly expand the share of gas vehicles in large areas of Europe.
In Germany, there are currently around 97,000 natural gas vehicles (as of mid-2012); in 2011, the inventory rose by 4.3 per cent. A look at Italy indicates that this share can be significantly increased under optimal constraints. On the other side of the Alps, the inventory of natural gas vehicles doubled from 382,000 to 785,000 cars between 2005 and 2011. Here natural gas vehicles are promoted with tax advantages, rebates in new car purchases, and exemptions from certain traffic rules. In addition, extension of the natural gas refilling station network is subsidised.
In Germany, however, the full potential has not yet been exhausted, although some natural gas providers already offer rebates of up to 1,250 euros for the purchase of a new car with a natural gas drive, the fuel costs less than petrol or diesel due to a reduced energy tax rate and the number of natural gas refilling stations has risen to 911 (as of October 2012). Given these facts, the fuel strategy of the Federal Republic of Germany assumes that the inventory of natural gas vehicles will rise up to 4 per cent by 2020 – that would be around 1.4 million vehicles. Compared to 2012, that would be an immense increase; the trend in Italy shows, however, that this is feasible.
Biomethane as domestic energy source
Biomethane, often referred to as bio-natural gas, continues to increase in importance thanks to its eco-friendly properties and the possibility of producing in industrial processes in the country in which it is consumed. Even when ‘pure’ natural gas is used, CO2 emissions are reduced by 24 per cent compared to petrol engines. The CO2 emissions situation is further improved when biomethane is used: when 20 per cent biomethane is added to the natural gas at the refilling station, this by itself reduces CO2 emissions by 39 per cent. When fuelled with pure biomethane, the cars emit up to 97 per cent less CO2! In a well-to-wheel analysis (from raw material sourced to the final drive unit), this would make its CO2 emissions comparable – “to those of fuel cell technology or of pure battery-powered electric vehicles – assuming that the electricity and hydrogen are produced from renewable sources,” according to the German Energy Agency (dena).
Global natural gas reserves are estimated to be 525,000 billion m3 (as of 2009) and around 3,000 billion m3 of that amount is extracted annually. So, natural gas is finite as well. This makes a forecast by Berlin-based organisation dena related to the German market for natural gas vehicles for the year 2020 that much more important: “Even if the cited 4 per cent goal is reached, all natural gas vehicles could theoretically be powered with pure biomethane by the year 2020.”
By mid-2011, there were already 57 biomethane plants in Germany, which fed 64,000 standard cubic metres (std. m3/h) into the natural gas network per hour. Today, biomethane is blended at one-fourth of the available natural gas refilling stations in Germany; in addition, nearly 100 stations already offer pure biomethane. This number is the most of any country in the world. One of the technical leaders among producers of sustainably obtained biomethane in Germany is Verbio AG (Leipzig). The company specialises in producing biomethane from material such as manure, animal waste, biological wastes and straw – renewable sources that do not complete with food production. The company has developed a new type of bio-refinery that produces biomethane exclusively from stillage, a waste product of bioethanol production, and straw. Another way of obtaining gas from renewable materials has been practiced since early 2012: biomethane production from nothing other than straw. Verbio AG is the first company in the world to succeed at this.
Another expansion stage is offered by what is known as e-gas, which is also known as power-to-gas. As already described, in this case electricity is used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis, and in a second step the hydrogen is converted to methane. Together with a number of project partners – such as SolarFuel GmbH and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (both in Stuttgart), the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy Systems Technology (Kassel) and EWE Energie AG (Oldenburg) – the Volkswagen Group found a way, for the first time, to store overcapacities of renewable electricity – e.g. from wind generators or solar power – on a grand scale. In the reverse direction, the stored gas can be used to power electrical generation plants. The electricity can then be used to drive electric cars – especially for drives over shorter distances -, or it can be used as a fuel for gas and fuel cell vehicles that can cover long distances. Another benefit is realised in the converting the electrolysis-generated hydrogen into methane: the conversion consumes CO2, ensuring that it is no longer emitted into the atmosphere as greenhouse gas – this methane will make cars like the VW eco up! even cleaner!