Implementation Barriers of Alternative Fuels
Task 15 studies the practical barriers associated with the introduction of an altenative fuel and analyses alternative fuels in broad terms with respect to these practical barriers. Alternative fuels covered by this study are LPG, natural gas, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, electricity and DME
The result of the task is a report entitled "Implementation barriers of alternative fuels" This report is a review of the practical barriers related to the introduction of alternative fuels in vehicles. Descriptions of barriers are combined with possible solutions and also the relative importance of the barriers is estimated.
Barriers vary from technical to politic or public acceptation. The refuelling time of an LPG bus had to be reduced to three minutes before Dutch bus companies wanted to consider the introduction of LPG in their fleets. The uncertainty about the government policy in Germany has limited the growth of natural gas as an automotive fuel. And the odour of biodiesel-buses without filter led to complaints of the public.
For all fuels, the life cycle costs are the most important barrier that has to be removed. There is no example of a successful alternative fuel that is more expensive per kilometre than gasoline or diesel. Also a reasonable choice in vehicle models running on the alternative fuel has been found to be an important prerequisite for a successful introduction.
The report points out that one should also be careful not to focus on the most well-known barriers alone, because the introduction of a fuel can be hindered by some aspects that are generally only minor barriers but play an important role in some specific situation. On the other hand, it is not necessary to remove all barriers completely to enable a market introduction. For example, the loss of cargo space has not prevented the purchase of LPG vehicles by about 10% of the Dutch passenger car owners.