Return to impact stories overview

Sustaining the environment Primagas, Germany 4/19/2021

Primagas pioneering projects to reduce Germany’s transport-related carbon emissions

Primagas with the support of its parent SHV Energy, is leading two projects that are focused on supporting the German government aim of reducing its transport-related carbon emissions by more than 70 million tonnes by the year 2030.

The importance of developing new solutions to decarbonise transport is highlighted by the fact that within the last 30 years, Germany’s transport-related emissions have largely held steady, with a decrease of less than 1%.

A partnership project aiming to reducing CO2 emissions

SHV Energy and Primagas will be logistics partners in the German-government funded C3-mobility project and the DME-Plus-X projects for the supply and delivery of 100% renewable dimethyl ether (rDME).

The C3-Mobility project is a research association of some 30 organisations from industry and academia, which aims to develop CO2-neutral transport fuels. It is funded under the framework of the “Energy Transition in Transport” initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMVi).

This ambitious initiative aims to explore how renewable fuels such as rDME can be used to provide sustainable, efficient, and climate-friendly mobility. The rDME fuel can be produced from a wide range of sources including renewable feedstocks, biomass, wastes and renewable power and captured CO2.

A large step towards the delivery of renewably sourced fuels

As part of the joint initiative, Primagas will build and operate a renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) fuel station, the first of its kind in Germany. This fuel will be used by Ford, as part of the C3-Mobility project, to develop vehicles which can run on 100% rDME.

It will establish Primagas as a pioneer in Europe for the supply of rDME as a fuel and supports a key part of the SHV Energy strategy to achieve 100% renewably sourced fuels by 2040.

This is a significant development as rDME is a clean-burning, low-carbon, renewable fuel that can be used as a 100% replacement fuel for diesel vehicles. The fuel can also be used in LPG applications, blended or pure, and it could represent a game-changer in the energy transition for off-grid use. 

It is an important partnership project for Primagas as Jobst Dietrich Diercks, Primagas Germany Managing Director explains, “Primagas being the first company to deliver 100% renewable DME in Germany is a great opportunity. We want to be in the driver`s seat when it comes to German energy transition “Energiewende”. The projects reflect the Primagas interest and commitment to renewable fuels in the heating sector as well as in the transport sector.”

The rDME filling station

The filling station, as part of the project, will supply 100% rDME sourced in Europe, to Ford for use in road trials of their Mondeo cars and Transit vans. It will demonstrate the strong potential for the use of rDME as a renewable fuel in diesel engines as it burns cleaner than diesel with low Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and no Sulphur Oxide (SOx) or soot emissions and can reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by up to 85%.

The fuel station will be similar in design to an LPG filling station, leveraging the operational and engineering expertise of Primagas of providing LPG and LNG to the transport sector. It means that the low-carbon fuel can be provided without substantial redesign of the existing infrastructure.

 Stefan Schmidt, Primagas Germany, Public Affairs Manager, commented on the significance of this development “With the building the first rDME station in Germany, everyone here at Primagas are delighted to pioneer this fuel and play our part in the endeavour to make transport sustainable.”

A promising fuel solution

The goal of reducing CO2 emissions and going further to achieve carbon neutral vehicles is an important target for Ford as Werner Willems, (Technical Expert – Sustainable Fuels Research at Ford) comments, “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport is challenging and requires multiple technological solutions to achieve future carbon neutrality. In addition to electrification, Ford R&A is looking at solutions based on internal combustion engines.”

This supports the need for a cleaner alternative fuel and that the use of rDME is a promising alternative, as Werner Willems continued,” For commercial vehicles, rDME seems to be a very promising sustainable fuel solution which not only reduces CO2 but also addresses air-quality improvement by its combustion properties (non-sooting) in a compression ignition engine. Introducing a new fuel onto the market though requires not only developing the vehicle technology but also requires reliable partners on the fuel production and distribution side of transport. Therefore, Ford R&A is very pleased to join forces with SHV Energy/Primagas in order to take rDME to the next level.”

Under the DME-Plus-X project, which runs from 2021 to 2024, the development of rDME vehicles will continue with a focus on vehicles compatible with the existing diesel-vehicle fleet, with minimum retrofitting.

An exciting alternative

With the slow take up of electric vehicles in Germany, alternative fuel sources are vital to help reach the emission targets set for 2030 and the longer-term goal of zero emissions by 2050. The development of rDME, as part of this collaborative project, offers an exciting alternative that can assist with this ambition.