Another record for Panda: a Natural Power car has been operating soley on Biomethane

Another record for Panda: a Natural Power car has been operating soley on Biomethane

15.03.2018: ....from the water cycle for a whole year Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the trial on the Panda powered by natural gas, the

....from the water cycle for a whole year

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the trial on the Panda powered by natural gas, the biomethane produced by the wastewater treatment plant operated by the CAP Group at Bresso-Niguarda (Milan).

It was on 14 March 2017 that Elisa Boscherini (Head of FCA Institutional Relations for the EMEA area) handed the Panda to Alessandro Russo, Chairman of the CAP Group, at the Mirafiori Motor Village in Turin. This marked the start of the #BioMetaNow project, involving FCA and the CAP Group together with the LifeGate network, which promotes sustainable development in Italy.

Since then, the Panda Natural Power has clocked up thousands of kilometres, always fuelled with the CAP Group's biomethane, and has been regularly monitored by in-depth tests performed at CRF (the FCA Research Centre) to certify that biomethane produced from sewage (just like that produced from agricultural and solid urban waste) has no contraindications or adverse effects on the engine.

The Panda has made a pit-stop at the CRF facility at Orbassano. It is undergoing two thorough inspections to confirm that, for the engine, biomethane is exactly equivalent to a natural gas of fossil origin. The first test is the exhaust emissions measurement on the roller bed to assess the catalytic converter's efficiency, and the second is an engine performance test.

Coinciding with this anniversary, the Italian Ministries of Economic Development, the Environment and Agriculture and Forestry have just approved the interministerial decree for the promotion of the use of biomethane and other advanced biofuels in the transport sector. This measure has been eagerly awaited by both the agricultural and the waste management sectors.

With this decree, Italy - already leading the way in Europe - sets itself the aim of covering 10 percent of transport energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, with an additional target for advanced biomethane and other advanced biofuels of 0.9 percent in 2020 and 1.5 percent from 2022.

Traversing many kilometres to participate at shows and events, the Fiat Panda has shown that by using biomethane it is possible to reduce emissions by 97 percent compared to the petrol model.

On 6 October the Panda Natural Power set out from its "home" treatment plant to travel to Bari where, at the National Water Festival, it welcomed visitors to the grounds of Bari University, as an example of excellence in the circular economy of the water cycle in Italy.

What's more, the Panda #BioMetaNow was present in Milan at the Italian stage of the LNG Blue Corridor (the international project for a natural truck route linking western and eastern Europe) and its story was also told in the documents presented at the  Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan.

In November the Panda took part in "Ecomondo 2017", the leading circular and green economy fair. The #BioMetaNow project starred as an example of sustainability mobility in the LifeGate Lounge, a space which focused on the topics involving the broader Italian community on these subjects: more than six million people who dream of a sustainable world where circularity is the future, also through a large number of projects already launched by LifeGate on the site, on the social network and on the radio.

Thanks to the LifeGate "Foreste in Piedi" protected forest project, the CAP Group and FCA have committed to conserving a square metre of Brazilian Amazonian forest for every kilometre the Panda travels, proving their genuine dedication to the cause.

The Bresso-Niguarda treatment plant

This treatment plant processes the wastewater of the Municipalities of Paderno Dugnano, Cormano, Cusano Milanino and Cinisello Balsamo, a total of almost 300 thousand people.

 The effluent treatment process leads to the formation, inside the digesters, of biogas comprising about 65 percent methane, which can be extracted and "cleaned" to obtain purity levels of around 99 per cent: once compressed, this biomethane is ready to be used to fuel cars.

This CAP Group alone would be able to produce more than 340 thousand kilograms of biomethane a year, meaning enough fuel to power 416 Pandas for 20 thousand kilometres each. The Panda could travel right around the world on just two days' biomethane output, and still have fuel to spare!

It is easy to imagine the potential positive effects for the environment of an expansion in biomethane use, with regulations encouraging its supply directly to the grid.

What is biomethane?

Biomethane is a biofuel obtained from waste water and, in this case, by biomass waste of farming origin (which is renewed over time and during its lifecycle has incorporated carbon present in the atmosphere) and the organic fraction of the solid urban waste derived from sorted waste collection.

FCA and the CAP Group support biomethane particularly for its strategic potential in emission abatement. The main aim of the #BioMetaNow project is to promote biomethane and demonstrate its real potential as an ally in fighting climate change and atmospheric pollution as well as dealing with the major challenge of waste management.

Natural gas from renewable sources has many real advantages: firstly, it is virtually inexhaustible, and it also ensures low emissions from polluting substances and greenhouse gasses. What's more, considering the entire fuel production and use cycle ("from well to wheel"), its environmental impact is the same as that of electric cars operated on renewable energy (such as wind power).

The fact that the use of biomethane does not require modifications either to the cars fuelled or to the distribution network allows the environmental performance of all the cars on the road to be improved, and not just that of new vehicles.

What's more, it reduces dependence on oil, creates jobs in the domestic supply chain, helps to ensure the economic sustainability of farms, allows the efficient reuse of waste and, finally, if made from wastewater, permits a reduction in municipal waste disposal charges.

FCA - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is one of the world's largest auto makers and designs, develops, manufactures and sells cars, commercial vehicles, components and manufacturing systems worldwide. It operates within the automotive market with the brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, RAM and Maserati, in addition to SRT (racing division dedicated to high-performance cars) and Mopar, the brand for aftermarket services and spare parts.

Businesses also include Comau (manufacturing systems), Magneti Marelli (components) and Teksid (iron and castings). FCA also supplies financing, leasing and rental services to support the automotive business by means of subsidiaries, joint ventures and agreements with specialised finance operators.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles operates through companies located in 40 countries worldwide and entertains commercial relationships with customers in over 140 countries. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange ("FCAU") and the Milan Stock Exchange ("FCA").

CAP Group - The industrial enterprise that manages the integrated water service in the metropolitan city of Milan, applying an in-house method to guarantee public control of partner organisations while respecting principles of transparency, responsibility and participation.

 Through decades of know-how and the expertise of its staff, it combines the public nature of water resources and their management with efficient organisation of the water service, with the capability to make investments in the local area and grow awareness through IT tools. The CAP Group is one of Italy's largest monoutility companies in terms of size and capital. It received the Top Utility award as best Italian Utility Company in 2017.

LifeGate is considered the Italian point of reference in sustainability, with a community of more than 6 million people. Every day, LifeGate works with passion and determination to make information, projects and services available, engaging with an ever-growing network of people, businesses and NGOs, institutions that wish to make an active commitment to change for a sustainable future.

LifeGate supports businesses in improving their social and environmental impact through energy efficiency, renewable energy and strategic communication projects. Through its media network, it provides people with information and concrete tools to enable them to embrace sustainability in every aspect of their daily lives and to become leading players in a new society.

These objectives have given rise to Mobility Revolution, a project which raises awareness of sustainability mobility and comprises projects, services and tools enabling people to acquire information, and adopt intelligent choices and behaviours with regard to mobility.

Lesley Sutton -photos


15.03.2018 / MaP

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