Vision and objectives
The Green Deal adopted by the new European Commission sets a clear objective: by 2050, transport emissions will have to be reduced by 90 %, compared to 1990 levels. To this end, the transition from the use of fossil fuels for mobility, to the use of alternative fuels, needs to be accelerated. Production and use of alternative fuels must be ramped up.
The roll out of a sufficiently dense, widespread network of alternative fuels infrastructure is one important element of this overall transition to low- and zero-emission alternative fuels. Alternative fuels, including the infrastructure to recharge and refuel them, are developing in Europe at an accelerating pace. Private vehicle users, market actors and policy makers alike depend on comprehensive, reliable, targeted and timely data and information on alternative fuels vehicles and infrastructure developments in the EU. Information of this kind is underpinning important decision-making, be it concerning the purchase of such a vehicle, the investment into infrastructure projects or the set-up of public support or market regulation. In view of the functioning of the internal market for transport, it is also indispensable that this information is provided for the EU as a whole in a coherent and reliable manner.
The Commission has therefore installed the European Alternative Fuels Observatory – EAFO. Having started in 2015, it has developed over the years into a key reference point for information about alternative fuels in Europe, where all interested parties find data on vehicles and infrastructure, and information on public incentives and legislation.
EAFO is a key information support tool for the European Commission in the implementation process of Directive 2014/94/EU. Under the reporting obligations of the Directive, the Commission is tasked with assessing the overall relevance and effectiveness of National Policy Frameworks and their coherence at Union level. The assessment of the deployment of infrastructure along the TEN-T network is of particular relevance.
In particular, the Directive requires Member States to adopt National Policy Frameworks (NPFs). NPFs should include national targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the respective Member State. Member States had to send NPFs by 18 November 2016 and the first implementation reports by 18 November 2019. The Commission is using data and information from EAFO to underpin its assessment of the overall NPFs and their impact in Member States.
Moreover, the Directive contains a number of deployment targets for those fuels with distinct infrastructure requirements than conventional fuels, or for which the network was considered insufficient to support their take-up back in 2014, when the Directive was adopted.
- For electricity, the Directive foresees that an appropriate number of publicly accessible points are established in urban and sub-urban areas and other densely populated areas by end 2020 and that electricity recharging at shore-side is established at all ports of the TEN-T core networks and other ports by the end of 2025.
- For Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), it foresees that an appropriate number of points are established in urban and sub-urban areas and other densely populated areas by the end of 2020 and along the TEN-T core network by the end of 2025.
- For Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), it foresees that points are established at all maritime ports of the TEN-T core network by the end of 2025, at all inland ports of the TEN-T core network by the end of 2030 and that an appropriate number of points are established along the TEN-T core network for heavy-duty vehicles by the end of 2025.
- For hydrogen, it foresees that, in the Member States who choose to develop this fuel, an appropriate number of public refuelling points are established by the end of 2025.
Again, the Commission is using data and information from EAFO to track and assess the state of play of alternative fuels infrastructure provision in the TEN-T Core and Comprehensive Network.
EAFO covers all Member States, the EFTA-EEA Member States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Turkey.
EAFO covers all alternative fuels as defined under Article 2 of Directive 2014/94. Currently, Article 2 of Directive 2014/94/EU defines alternative fuels as fuels or power sources which serve, at least partly, as a substitute for fossil oil sources in the energy supply to transport and which have the potential to contribute to its decarbonisation and enhance the environmental performance of the transport sector. They include, inter alia: electricity, hydrogen, biofuels as defined in point (i) of Article 2 of Directive 2009/28/EC, synthetic and paraffinic fuels, natural gas, including biomethane, in gaseous form (compressed natural gas (CNG)) and liquefied form (liquefied natural gas (LNG)), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
All transport modes will be gradually included in EAFO. In the current version, the road transport mode is fully available, and a condensed version of maritime and inland waterways shipping. This will be followed by a full dataset for maritime and inland waterway shipping, and a gradual introduction of information on the aviation and rail sectors.
The target groups of the Observatory are
- local, regional, national and EU policy makers in the field of alternative transport fuels;
- business actors such as OEMs, manufacturers and operators of recharging and refuelling stations, alternative fuels producers and providers, service providers, public transport authorities etc.;
- NGOs, special interest groups and professional associations active on alternative fuels;
- (potential) consumers of alternative fuels vehicles and infrastructure; and
- EU citizens more generally.
If you want to get in touch with the EAFO team, please send us an email and let us know how we can work together!