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It is a clear concept. The progressive exhaustion of the planet’s resources together with the need to change pace in order to head towards a zero emissions future will have a high cost for everyone. For quite some time, there have been many alarm bells. Soaring prices of electricity and gas, as well as for the materials needed by the construction sector, A new Chinese crisis, scarcity of raw materials, lithium and cobalt rush, war of microchips, automotive components not delivered… News that we still struggle to process, but we are aware that something is changing. The role of politics is fundamental and urgent in order to mitigate the negative effects on businesses and citizens and to study reforms capable of accompanying society along the path of transition. After Fit for 55, the climate package adopted on July 14th by the European Commission which provides for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels, with the aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, it was held the virtual summit on climate and energy promoted by Joe Biden. Moreover, from October 31st til November 12th, Glasgow will host OP26, the UN conference where almost 200 nations are expected to announce more ambitious emissions cuts than those previously set in order to try to avoid overheating of the planet.

The European Commission adopted this past mid-July a package of proposals to make EU policies on climate, energy, land use, transportation and taxation suitable for reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to the 1990’s levels.

Long-Term Decarbonization Strategy, National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr), Next Generation EU, National Energy and Climate Plan. These are the most significant economic and environmental measures implemented for Italy, which will affect the development of markets and supply chains, air and water pollution, recycling and circularity, health and protection of natural resources.

We are increasingly into the year 2021 with the awareness of the numerous expectations we have: defeating the virus and gaining herd immunity, starting a solid economic recovery, having the opportunity to give a new economic push to the country thanks to an excellent Recovery Plan, being able to finally hug each other and shake hands, smiling more and without a mask.

After four years in the company of Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s term will begin next January, and he promises to have a significant from an environmental point of view. The outgoing president has always been opposed to the fight against climate change, so much so that he insisted that the US left out from the Paris Treaty and the final cancellation of the Clean Power Plan, created in 2015.

The decline of sales in the auto market decreases. If July had totaled 136,455 registrations, 11% less than in the same month of 2019, in August we are at 88,801, so only 0.4% less than in the same month of 2019.

The ambitious climate package adopted in July by the European Commission to lead the EU to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to the 1990’s levels and achieve full climate neutrality (zero net emissions) by 2050 creates a lot of discussion. It is a debate that involves not only car manufacturers, but also the world of alternative fuels, which feels unfairly excluded from the “good guys”. In fact, one of the most controversial aspects concerns zero emissions label, reserved only for electricity. It is scandalously measured only at the exhaust, but not in the entire life cycle! The package, despite the calls for technological neutrality addressed in recent months by national and international associations to the European institutions, does not adequately take into account the great contribution to decarbonisation that can derive from the immediate and larger-scale use of renewable fuels, such as bio methane in primis. Talking about zero emissions requires an approach that does not only consider exhaust emissions. This assumption has been universally denied by numerous studies that propose to evaluate global emissions for the production, use and disposal of vehicles using the LCA (from cradle to the grave) analysis.

With the conversion into law of the Sostegni bis decree for car incentives has been approved.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) was presented to the European Commission at the end of April. This is a milestone: it is in fact the investment program prepared by the Government as part of the EU Next Generation, the tool to respond to the pandemic crisis caused by Covid-19. While we wait to know what it will translate into, let’s take a closer look at it. The Plan wishes to be the tool that, through a series of actions and interventions, aims to make Italy a more equitable, green and inclusive country.

A nation with a more competitive, dynamic and innovative economy, able to face environmental, technological and social challenges now and in the future. The overall strategy mobilizes more than 222 billion euros and supports 6 missions: Digitization, Innovation, Competitiveness and Culture (49.2 billions); Green Revolution and Ecological Transition (68.6 billions, the largest sum invested); Infrastructure for Sustainable Mobility (31.4 billions); Education and Research (31.9 billions); Inclusion and Cohesion (22.4 billions); and Health (18.5 billions).

This past December 1st, the year of the Italian Presidency of the G20 was inaugurated, which will culminate in the Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Rome October 30th and 31st, 2021.

The car market is seriously in crisis, so much that the trade associations Anfia, Federauto and Unrae have issued a joint announcement asking for help

The auto market is showing a slight improvement, but we are still far from recovering, after the forced and disastrous halt imposed by the pandemic.

It is a difficult moment for the automobile market, which is trying to recover after the Covid period: in an ups and downs of numbers and percentages, burdened by the blows inflicted by the global crisis of the shortage of components. In addition the crisis in the supply of microchips has heavy repercussions on the production and delivery dates of cars. Finally, the government cut the incentives for the most popular cars, the ones that register an average CO2 emission between 61 to 135 gr/km. So unfortunately this past August, we witnessed a strong decrease of new car registrations (-27,47%) compared to a pre-pandemic August 2019, and an overall -20% in the period between January-August. Besides petrol and diesel fuelled cars that are in constant decline, we’d like to examine the alternative energy powered cars market. In fact, in August 2021 of the total number of car registered, half had alternative fuels and generally they represented 45,1% of the cars sold in the first eight months of the year, incrementing by 36,2% in the single month and by 155% since the beginning of the year. Electric cars represent more than 40% of the market share (41,6% in the month and 36% overall), while gas fuelled Cars represent 12% of the market share in August 2021 and 9,1% in the first eight months.

There are still too few ecological circulating cars: considering all of the alternative propulsions available, we reach 10.7% of the fleet in circulation, compared to 9.8% in 2019.

Socogas Group of Fidenza opened in the past few weeks a new service station that supplies liquid methane (LNG) and gaseous methane (L-CNG).

It is a well known and appreciated company on a national level, with over 200 employees in many locations and with a lot of companies affiliated to it. The plant is located less than 1 km from the Fidenza Salsomaggiore Terme A1 freeway exit. Exactly it is at the 1,840 OK of the Stare road 12 nearby the Fidenza Outlet Village and Fidenza Shopping Center.

The plant is Continuously supplied of liquefied natural gas, and independent from the methane pipeline network, so it is able to offer both liquid methane (LNG) for heavy vehicles,
and gaseous methane (L-CNG), obtained from the regasification of liquid methane, for cars and vans.

The offer is completed by petrol, diesel, LPG and an area dedicated for recharging electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles.

According to the data released by Acea, in the entire European Union including the EFTA countries and the United Kingdom, a total of 3,080,751 cars were registered in the first quarter of 2021. It is a + 0.9% compared to the same period in 2020. This year, after a heavy decrease in January (-25.7%) and February (-20.3%). Instead, March 2021 registered a positive trend in the European auto market, an increase of + 62.7% – equal to 1,387,924 units sold – compared to March 2020, which recorded exceptionally low volumes (-51.8%) due to the Covid-19 initial restrictions. In comparison with March 2019, however, the third month of 2021 is down by 22%, meaning that the strong losses of March 2020 were only partially offset. Volumes of alternative fuels cars sold are growing, with electric, hybrid and plug-in cars dominating the scene, while LPG and methane cars remain primarily an Italian choice for drivers.

In 2020, the Italian car market affected by the Covid-19 crisis totaled just over 1.38 million in sales, a -28% compared to the previous year: 535,000 cars are missing.

The health emergency has brought many changes in people’s lives, substantially affecting the mobility sector as well.

Glenfiddich, the single malt Scottish whiskey most recognized in the world, launched a ‘closed loop’ sustainable transport initiative that will make it the first global spirits brand to manage the delivery fleet with green bio methane produced from the residues of its distillation process. Adopting a technology developed by the parent company William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, in the north east of Scotland, transforms its production residues and waste in bio gas and then in bio methane called Ultra-Low Carbon Fuel (ULCF, a fuel with extremely low carbon emissions) with recognized qualities. Refueling stations have been installed in the distillery and the bio methane feeds specially set up trucks that deliver Glenfiddich whiskey. On the truck’s sides you can read Fueled by Glenfiddich - Transforming whiskey waste into ultra-low carbon fuel. The vehicles used by the whiskey producer are made by Iveco – in the pictures the natural gas fueled Stralis NP 460 – whose gas technology has been consolidated for some time.

Eni and the chemical company Basf signed a strategic agreement for a joint research and development initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the transport sector. The cooperation aims to develop a new technology to produce advanced bio-propanol from glycerin resulting from the production of FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) bio diesel. The technology under development involves the conversion of glycerin into propanol through an innovative catalytic hydro treatment process and consists of a high pressure hydrogenation process using a BASF commercial catalyst, in order to produce high bio-propanol performance and purity, minimizing the production of by-products. The propanol obtained can be added directly as a bio component in the formulation of fuels. Thanks to the best chemical physical properties compared to conventional bio-ethanol and a high octane number, bio-propanol is a very valuable component in the formulation of premium gasoline and can potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a percentage ranging from 65 and 75% compared to fossil fuels.

Climate: bad news. According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in August and approved by 195 governments, scientists detect changes everywhere on the planet. Many of these changes are unprecedented in thousands of years, and some of those that are already taking place – such as the continuous rise in sea level – won’t be reversible for hundreds or thousands of years. However, scientists point out, strong and steady reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions could limit them, with rapid benefits for air quality, while to see global temperatures stabilize, it could take 20- 30 years.

In the EU, electricity produced from renewable sources overcomed the one produced from fossil sources for the first time in 2020.

Istat presents the eighth edition of the fair and sustainable well-being project’s report (BES), ten years after its start. The report analyses 12 areas of concern: Health; Education and training; Balance between work and free time; Economic well-being; Social relationships;
Politics and institutions; Safety; Personal well-being; Landscape and cultural heritage; Environment; Innovation, Research and creativity;
Quality of services. The report shows that, throughout the country, the concern that people share the most is related to the consequences of climate change and the increase of the greenhouse effect. This worry has been increasing steadily in the percentage of people
affected by it, growing from 58.7% in 2014 to over 70% in the last two years. Awareness on this topic is high among citizens of all
ages, young people included.

Valeo’s challeng, company operating in automotive electrification worldwide, it is not to build bicycles, but to equip them with its electric assistance solution, obtaining an electric assistance system for bikes, combining performance, efficiency, comfort, ease of use and reduction of emissions by CO₂.

Agenda

ECOMOBILE 147

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The last four final competitions of the 2021 Italian Green Hill Climb Championship, a challenge open to ecological fueled vehicles, were held this past July in Schignano, in the province of Como. This new championship created by Aci Sport Alternative Energy Commission, hosted by Mr Angelo Raffaele Pelillo, foresees regularity tests on uphill roads closed to traffic. The competition is characterized by a novelty for the world of regularity: only the driver takes place on board the vehicle, who must do without the navigator. Mr. Nicola Ventura in the past had 2 victories and a second and a third place with Ecomotori Racing Team on a 124 Abarth equipped with a bio methane system by Autogas Italia, this past July won the overall title of 2021 Italian Champion Green Hill Climb Drivers. Autogas Italia hits first place together with Abarth in the constructors’ ranking. Ecomotori Racing Team, on the other hand, triumphs in the Teams ranking, putting the 4th title on the board after those won in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Affordable and good autonomy city cars, “small”quadri cycles in both dimensions and price, electric scooters and e-bikes to move around easily in the city. Future’s mobility was staged at the IAA Mobility in Munich with a multitude of innovative electric vehicles as protagonists. The new vehicles are characterized by the presence of advanced technologies, such as facial recognition, application management via smartphone or large screens also employed for entertainment. The models will also be enriched by radar, cameras and devices for connectivity with road infrastructures, automatic parking systems and the battery swap for “refueling” in a few minutes. More futuristic are robotaxis and flying cars.

The Bologna Fair district will host from October 6th to the 8th a pool of events starring the world of water, energy and innovation.

The Special Automotive Webinar by #FORUMAutoMotive – an initiative promoted by the journalist Pierluigi Bonora – has inaugurated the year 2021 on January 15th, analyzing scenarios involving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Two events – the 1st Green Prix Città di Merate held on October 10th and 11th and the 1st Valtellina Ecogreen held on October 24th and
25th

Oil&nonoil was one of the few trade fairs that took place in Italy before the new stop imposed by the pandemic.

In 2020, in the European Union, there were about 4,000 fatalities less compared to 2019. An unprecedented annual reduction (-17%), most likely linked to travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 emergency. It is one of the most relevant data among those listed in the new European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report. Looking at the medium-long term, in the period 2010-2020 the decrease in road accident victims registered was 37%, with a saving of over 56 thousand lives (56,305) and more than 150 billion (156) euros in social costs.

The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are more and more performing and evolving rapidly.

Among the latest novelties we can find Audi’ s evolution of the Car-to-X platform (real-time information on road surface condition and adhesion variations are detected and shared), the Coffee Break Alert system by the New Citroën C3, which warns the driver after two hours of driving at a speed higher than 65 km/h.

In order to improve nocturnal vision, the new Lexus LS has implemented the BladeScanTM Adaptive High-Beam System (AHS).

The new Opel Corsa-e corrects itself: its system of Lane Keeping Assist with Active Drive Assist applies steering corrections if the vehicle inadvertently leaves the lane.

We are getting used to see scooters that parade, not too slowly, on our streets.

After the research carried out in 2019, the Italian Automobile Club and Bosch presented a new study – carried out by the Filippo Caracciolo Foundation in collaboration with the Turin’ Polytechnic Institute – aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of the braking assistance system in rear-end accidents.

In 2019, according to the Aci – Istat data, there were 172,183 road accidents with injuries to people in Italy a number slightly lower than in 2018 (-0.2%), with 3,173 victims (killed within 30 days of the event) and 241,384 injured (-0.6%).

The new safety technology developed by Volkswagen, the Local Hazard Warning system (also defined by the car manufacturer as Traffic Hazard Alert), has received the Advanced Award by Euro Nncap. This device allows the cars to communicate with everything around them (Car to Everyone - C2X): i. e. other vehicles, road, obstacles and objects on the roadway.

Alba, the electric cart, was born from a project thought and created in Italy by TCN Group, a company leader in the mechanic and smart mobility sector, headquartered in Alba, in the province of Cuneo. Presenting it to us is Puntogas, the official Lazio and L’Aquila and Terni cart dealer. At the headwaters showroom in Albano Laziale, it is possible to see and test all the functions as well as receive it and request assistance. Currently available in the GC version for use in golf clubs and tourist villages, Alba also includes the off-road versions (GC and TC), and now a new street-legal (SC) version which will be usable on the city center historical roads. Powered by a three-phase electric motor with a power of 3 kW, rechargeable at home without the need for external columns, it has an autonomy of up to 60 km and is able to reach a maximum speed of 50 km/h. The captivating casing bears the signature of the well-known designer Walter de Silva and, it underlines Spartaco Lombardelli, owner of Puntogas, contains all the modern concepts of mobility, safety, technology, comfort and versatility.

It is simple to install, intuitive to use and convenient for refueling.

Engines evolve and with them gas systems. The kits developed for modern petrol direct injection units are especially the ones that arouse
interest.

BRC Gas Equipment, leader in manufacturing automotive LPG and CNG conversion equipment, is ready to launch Sequent Maestro, the LPG conversion system for vehicles provided with petrol direct injection engine.

The multinational Westport Fuel Systems, which develops low-emission, alternative fuel-efficient transport technologies and headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, published a joint study with AVL (a company that deals with the development and testing of propulsion systems), on the evaluation of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of internal combustion engines fueled by hydrogen (H2).

Our analysis shows – Mr. David Johnson, Westport Fuel Systems CEO stated – that a hydrogen ICE engine equipped with high efficiency technologies (i.e. H2-HPDI) can outperform electric fuel cell vehicles in terms of TCO. Together with Scania it has been started a research project for the application of HPDI 2.0 hydrogen fuel system to the latest Scania industrial vehicle engine.

The results of the preliminary tests are expected in the second half of 2021. Moreover, from Cherasco, Westport Fuel Systems Italia has recently announced that it is an official member of H2IT, the Italian Association Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.

Bio methane-powered cars do not create any carbon deposits. This is the result obtained by the first monitoring data collected by BioMethER, a project developed thanks to the collaboration between Iren and Volkswagen Group Italia.

The project allowed to analyze the impact of the direct use of bio methane as a fuel for transportation. The tests were carried out in the test room of the Enea della Casaccia Research Center, equipped with a roller bench, on two new vehicles of the same brand – Volkswagen Polo TGI 1.0 90CV – powered 100% with bio methane produced by sewage sludge in Roncocesi’s Iren demonstration plant (Reggio Emilia).

The results showed that after 15,000 kilometers driven on bio methane there was the total absence of carbon residues on the piston crown, a data that suggests less wear on the engine.

The futuristic Q8 flagship station was inaugurated on the Paderno Dugnano, Milan, along the Milano-Meda road. This gas station is distinguished by innovative architectural and technological solutions that combine tradition and environmental sustainability and it stands as an ideal service space for mobility in a context of energy transition. We talked about it with Mr Giuseppe Zappalà, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Italia. The station, he explains, expresses Q8’s vision of the network of the future: a service hub capable of satisfying the various needs related to mobility in the best possible way. Developed on an 8,000 square meter yard, the system guarantees numerous refuelling stations for vehicles with traditional endothermic engines (petrol, diesel, LPG and short-term methane) as well as for electric ones with as many as 6 charging stations, 2 of which offer ultrafast 300 kW. At the heart of the entire creation is the minimal environmental impact. In fact, the best innovative energy efficiency solutions were used.

Recovery plan: the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) provides for incentives to promote environmental sustainability.

Emme Informatica, a software house in Padua, celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2021.

In this occasion, it takes the opportunity to announce its upcoming services and to confirm its mission: to offer IT tools that improve and simplify the work of the protagonists of the
oil sector, i.e. service, net workers and white pumps. Mrs Maddalena Tanca, partner and head of communication, tells us about and illustrates to us the company.

At the end of December, Renzo Zucchi passed away at the age of 92.

BRC Gas Equipment of Cherasco (now part of the Westport Fuel Systems group)

After the premature death of Mr. Paolo Vettori, an historical protagonist in the natural gas field, Assogasmetano during the General Assembly held in Bologna this past July 1st, has nominated its new board. The President of the National Association of Methane Distributor Companies, founded in 2008 by Mr. Vettori himself, is now the Engineer Mr. Flavio Merigo. The Vice Presidents are Mrs. Costanza Zannoni and Mr. Lucio Ponsanesi. We met the new President and talked about the future association’s activities and about natural gas in general.