EU to push alternative fuel sites

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The European Commission has unveiled a package of measures to increase the of alternative fuel stations across Europe.

It said clean fuel was being held back by three main barriers: the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations.

The Commission is proposing a package of binding targets on member states for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.

Comission vice-president Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said. “Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe’s economy more resource efficient, to reduce our overdependence on oil and develop a transport industry which is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century.

“Between them, China and the US plan to have more than 6 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast growing global market.”

The main measures proposed are:

*Electricity: a minimum number of recharging points, using a common plug will be required for each member state.

*Hydrogen: Existing filling stations will be linked up to form a network with common standards ensuring the mobility of hydrogen vehicles.

* Biofuels: These already have nearly five per cent of the European market. They work as blended fuels and do not require any specific infrastructure. A key challenge will be to ensure their sustainability.

* LNG and CNG for waterborne transport. The commission is proposing that LNG refuelling stations be installed in all 139 maritime and inland ports on the Trans European Core Network by 2020 and respectively 2025.

* LNG for road transport: There are only 38 filling stations in the EU. The commission is proposing that by 2020, refuelling stations are installed every 400 km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network.

* CNG for road: The commission wants publically accessible refuelling points, with common standards Europe-wide with maximum distances of 150 Km by 2020.

* LPG: No action is foreseen for LPG, the core infrastructure is already established.

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