In the context of the CNG Mobility Days in Essen, the Volkswagen Group presented the latest models from its brands developed to run on natural gas for the first time in Germany.
The new VW Polo TGI (fuel consumption with natural gas (CNG), kg/100 km: combined 3.2 – 3.1; CO₂ emission combined (natural gas (CNG)), g/km: 87 – 85; fuel consumption with petrol, l/100 km: combined 4.9 – 4.8; CO₂ emission combined (petrol), g/km: 112 – 110) and the new SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TGI (fuel consumption natural gas (CNG), kg/100 km: combined 3.3; CO₂ emission combined (natural gas (CNG)), g/km: 88; fuel consumption petrol, l/100 km: combined 5.0; CO₂ emission combined (petrol), g/km: 114) are each powered by a large three-cylinder engine with a capacity of 1 litre generating 66 kW/90 hp. This takes the fleet of passenger cars in the Volkswagen Group suitable for running on CNG to a total of 16 models. In addition, there are advanced and efficient vehicles running on natural gas from the subsidiary Volkswagen Truck & Bus, which includes the brands MAN and Scania.
The use of CNG as a fuel for automobiles makes an immediate and direct contribution to the reduction of emissions in road traffic. For example, CNG releases approximately 25 percent less CO2 during combustion in the engine than conventional petrol. CNG also burns more cleanly than petrol and diesel – almost entirely free of fine dust and with significantly lower proportions of nitrogen oxide.
Natural gas is the main source of CNG as used in millions of households for heating, providing hot water and cooking. Sustainability is increased by CNG when it is mixed with biogas sourced from raw materials and waste, and by synthetic natural gas, which can be generated using green electricity. Dr Jens Andersen, Group CEO for Natural Gas Mobility at Volkswagen AG: "As far as a natural gas vehicle powered by CNG is concerned, it is irrelevant whether it runs on pure fossil fuel or methane that has been 100 percent regenerated. This characteristic makes the natural gas vehicle extremely important for the current energy transition."
Alongside the attractive selection of models supplied by the Volkswagen Group, customers also have an additional financial incentive to transfer to an automobile powered by a CNG engine that is environmentally friendly. As well as the environmental premium provided when a used automobile fitted with a diesel engine based on the standards Euro 1 to 4 is exchanged, they also receive a special bonus designated as a future premium amounting to 2000 euros.
The expansion of CNG mobility is an important building block for the Volkswagen Group in its realignment of the drive portfolio adopted in the future programme "TOGETHER Strategy 2025". The significantly reduced emission of CO2, nitrogen oxides and fine dust mean that CNG drives are ideal in the area of spark-ignition engines for making an effective contribution to the reduction of emissions in road traffic.
The current registration figures from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority indicate a significant growth in interest for this environmentally friendly and cost-effective form of mobility. Since July 2017, the number of passenger cars registered with a CNG engine has increased month-on-month by up to 75 percent compared with the equivalent year-earlier level. In October 2017, an increase of 34.8 percent was recorded by comparison with the equivalent year-earlier month alongside a new annual high for the number of new registrations.
The Volkswagen Group has joined forces with its partners in the industry circle for CNG mobility with the aim of achieving a fourfold increase in the number of CNG vehicles registered in Germany to around one million by the year 2025. A parallel objective being pursued is expanding the number of CNG filling stations in Germany from the current level of around 900 to 2000 stations. The industry partners are committed to a broadly based campaign alliance which comprises the Volkswagen Group as an automobile manufacturer and companies from the spheres of natural gas production, gas grid operation and filling stations. The industry circle for CNG mobility is open to further partners. The latest addition was provided by the biomethane producer VERBIO joining the industry circle. VERBIO AG is one of the leading independent biotechnology companies in Europe. The company operates a number of plants including three industrial-scale facilities for the production of biomethane from waste including the world's first plant to produce methane entirely from straw.
The gradual increase in the proportion of biomethane highlights the environmental and the future-proof character of CNG as a fuel for powering individual mobility. This potential is also playing an increasing role in the political evaluation of CNG mobility. A clear signal of this is the extension of tax relief for natural gas until 2026 adopted by the German Parliament (Bundestag). This guarantees owners of vehicles powered by a CNG engine a more cost-effective supply of fuel into the future. Recently, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel also highlighted the importance of CNG mobility for climate protection with a view to the potential that could be achieved over the long term through an increased proportion of biogas. "If we get it right, an 80 percent cut in CO2 emissions can be achieved by using automobiles powered by natural gas," commented the German Premier during her visit to the International Motor Show (IAA) 2017 in Frankfurt.
The CNG Mobility Days in Essen are taking place at a unique location. The SANAA building with a pioneering energy concept is located at the Zollverein coal mine UNESCO world heritage site.
It has enjoyed the reputation of an architectural masterpiece since it was completed in 2006. Since January 2010, the SANAA building has been used by the Folkwang University of the Arts.
The building unites heritage with contemporary design and transcends the architectural mould of the former industrial buildings. The construction is 34 metres high and has a floor area of 35 x 35 metres. It has an internal structure consisting of five storeys. The 134 window openings appear to have been arranged in a random configuration but they in fact precisely match the lighting situation in the interior of the building. The arrangement takes account of the path of the sun and provides a fascinating play of shadows. The slim facade thickness of just 30 centimetres was only possible due to the pit water present on the former colliery site at Shaft XII. Instead of conventional insulation, a system with plastic tubes was moulded into the exposed concrete facade and water flows through this tubing. A heat exchanger is used to heat the water coming from the pit water, which has an average temperature of 29 degrees, or alternatively the water is cooled to suit conditions. The use of natural waste heat from the underground water without any CO2 emissions makes this energy concept unique and effectively non-transferable.
Additional information is available at http://www.discover-cng.com