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NGV/bioNGV, a concrete alternative to petroleum fuels


The use of gas fuel has seen development spikes linked to fossil fuel shortages and costs. Competing with and overtaken by petrol motors at the beginning of the 20th century, gas fuel then became an effective solution to imposed petrol rationing during World War II.


After this, gas-fueled cars didn't reappear until the first oil crisis in the 1970s, notably in Italy.


In France manufacturers facing rising environmental concerns developed a natural gas fuel offer in the 1990s but diesel competition was too tough.


Now the future of NGV unfolds on a European scale. In 2014, the European Commission adopted a new directive destined to accelerate NGV/bioNGV stations' development.


Before late 2016, member States need to plan the construction of a sufficient number of refuelling stations by the end of 2025, ideally every 150 km for compressed NGV (CNG) used by the average distance transports and every 400 km for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for long transport distances, while implementing common standards.


Long-range transport – highways, rivers and maritime - can convert to the LNG fuel alternative. Indeed, the gas in its liquefied form allows more energy storage in tanks and thereby offers greater carrier autonomy.


By 2025, stations will have to equip road infrastructures as well as major seaports.


According to the Commission communiqué, each Union State Member must present an action plan before the end of 2016. A specific factor aimed at reassuring industrialists and investors on upcoming deployments...



The development of the first natural gas vehicles in France begins in the mid-19th century. In 1862, Étienne Lenoir built a gas vehicle before petrol engines even existed. The first 4-stroke Nikolas Otto engine with mixed air-gas compression was developed 14 years later.

Etienne Lenoir

1822 - 1900

A secure fuel !

The benefits

The vehicle types

Our partners

A secure fuel !

Safe stations

New generation nozzles: low outgassing

Safe tanks

Crash tests have shown that natural gas tanks are much safer than petrol tanks.


  • Pressure bursts of more than 600 bars
  • Tested to withstand shocks and impacts (gunshot tests)
  • Equipped with thermal fuses for gas to escape in case of fire

A gas lighter than air

Low risk of flammable hydrocarbon slick formation

Highly flame retardant

High ignition temperature of 540 ° C (double that of diesel)


The vehicle types

The technology is available and proven. Gas reserves and their worldwide distribution are sufficient to ensure resources and a stable price for several decades.


New regulations on waste producers' extended responsibilities and the purchase rates applicable to biomethane injections into natural gas networks will boost bioNGV by promoting the production of this renewable energy from waste and biomass methanisation.


BioNGV guarantees a balanced carbon footprint and, like NGV, it enables a very significant reduction of local pollutants' emissions:


  • Up to 95% particulate emission reduction and 85% Nox reduction compared to diesel
  • Decreased production of primary pollutants, enables secondary pollutant reduction such as ozone
  • 50% noise pollution reduction (less vibration)
  • No smell of combustion and less fumes
  • The NGV motors have long met the Euro VI standard


The integration of alternative energies such as NGV and bioNGV is a priority to control our carbon footprint.


Faced with the exponential increase in pollution-related illnesses (allergies, asthma, respiratory failure, cancers...) it is necessary to carry out urgent actions. Massive NGV and bioNGV integration in the transport energy mix is the only fast and relevant answer that combines vehicle range, respect for the environment as well as technical and economic competitiveness.

Environment and health benefits

The benefits


A secure fuel !

The benefits

The vehicle types

Economic benefits

  • This sector's growth is an opportunity for the French automotive industry because in 2020 there will be 65 million natural gas vehicles, i.e. 9% of the world market (source: AFGNV).
  • The only credible and available alternative to diesel fuel for heavy vehicles, natural gas is also a viable solution for light vehicles
  • Increasing numbers of manufacturers are offering NGV-powered vehicles
  • The biogas sector creates local jobs
  • LNG, the liquid version of natural gas, enables natural gas trucks to have an autonomy of up to 1,000 kilometres
  • In France's automobile manufacture sector, the NGV industry already creates jobs and exports its truck and bus motors as far away as China
  • Fuel represents a very high portion of total national energy costs. An essential economic adjustment factor comes from optimized energy mixes and local fuel production from our territories’ collected and enhanced wastes.
  • Biogas, from which bioNGV is produced, is a 100% renewable energy which enables territories to enter a virtuous circle of local and non-delocalised job creation.
  • The development of gas fuel in France offers a significant growth lever for the biogas market and vice versa.

Geopolitical stakes

  • The world's natural gas reserves are able to ensure the future of the NGV sector for many decades
  • Between 1986 and 2006, the world's proven natural gas reserves have more than doubled
  • The abundance and diversity of resources make the cost of natural gas more stable, more predictable and far less volatile than that of petroleum fuels
  • Local domestic biogas production will make us less dependent on other countries and will help to reduce our external economic deficit


Territories' use of their waste to produce fuel can prove to be very beneficial. Indeed, biomethane is a locally produced fuel that allows communities and businesses to become energy independent.

Political / regulatory stakes

  • Local authorities for a population of more than 20,000 inhabitants must follow a Territorial Climate Energy Plan to control and reduce CO2 emissions in their territory.
  • Biogas fuel usage is indispensable to honour the European commitment to 10% EnR transport reduction by 2020.
  • At the European level, the 2009/33/EC directive, adopted on April 23, 2009, requires public buyers to invest in clean vehicles.
  • Gas fuel powered trucks are quieter. They respect the PIEK standard required for vehicles which provide urban logistics (deliveries, waste collection…)

What kinds of vehicles?

Today there are natural gas vehicles for all uses:

The transport of goods and people, household waste collection, light, and heavy utility vehicles, passenger cars. But are they the right kind of vehicles?


The NGV motors already meet the Euro 6 standards! Technological adaptation to this standard will raise the price of diesel vehicles and their maintenance costs, making NGV vehicles very competitive.


And on a daily basis? They ensure real driver comfort through significant vibration attenuation and driving flexibility.


A tank can be filled in only 2 to 5 minutes without getting dirty hands at the pump!


Finally, an NGV vehicle emits half the sound emissions compared to other motorized transports. For example, measurements made on urban buses show a 3 dB

attenuation, i.e. 50% less noise compared to diesel engines, which is a marked improvement in the city.

Between 1991 and 2010, the number of NGV-powered vehicles increased by about 20% per year with an increase of 30% per year during the past three years. These vehicles are powered by approximately 11 000 stations worldwide.


France now has about 13,000 natural gas vehicles, with approximately 10,000 light vehicles and light utility vehicles, 2 300 buses and 1,000 heavy vehicles. France ranks 27th worldwide in the number of NGV vehicles and ranks 26th in the number of stations. For light vehicles, it is 8th on the European level far behind Italy in 1st place. On the other hand, for heavy vehicles - buses and heavy goods vehicles – France catches up, ranking close to Italy and Germany.




In France, one out of three new buses is NGV powered. Half of the provincial cities of more than 200,000 inhabitants use NGV. Today nearly 30 cities have chosen this fuel. They include Bordeaux, Dunkirk, Lille, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Poitiers, Strasbourg, Valence...


Keolis, a private operator of public transport, is the leading natural gas bus operator in France.


For the goods transport, NGV becomes a credible option. The power of the engines is now similar to that of the diesel engines and trucks feature sufficient autonomy. Two scenarios are possible.


For short and cyclic routes (last kilometre delivery, stocking stores from a platform): NGV powered trucks and vans are used because they can refuel easily since they always return to the same places. They are generally captive fleets (for example Carrefour).


For long-distance transport: trucks use NGV in liquefied form (or LNG).. This fuel is stored in tanks as a liquid at low temperatures. A full tank enables them to travel more than 1000 km.


NGV vehicles have the particularity of being quieter. They respect the PIEK label (-60 DB), a definite advantage for garbage pickup or night/early morning deliveries.


The PIEK label certifies the engine sound level limitation for night deliveries. Cemafroid, the representative body that issues the right to use the PIEK mark, grants this label.

Nocturnal deliveries enable more fluid traffic circulation, the return of parking spaces reserved for daytime deliveries and less stress, particularly for drivers.


NGV cars available in Europe are dual fuel vehicles, but use only one at a time. This means that they can use NGV/bioNGV and have petrol as a second fuel choice. The driver selects the fuel to be used through a switch located on the dashboard.

Several manufacturers such as Fiat and IVECO sell dual fuel cars.

However any gasoline vehicle can be converted to dual fuel, petrol-NGV. Authorized garages can do the upgrade which involves the installation of a NGV tank in the trunk, a natural gas injection system and relevant electronics.


NGV tanks may be made of steel, aluminium or carbon fibre - resin. The much lighter new composite bottles are particularly interesting because they enable reduced fuel consumption.

Distribution of NGV vehicles in Europe


Nbr of NGV vehicles






730 000

726 500

2 300

1 200



200 019

10 000

120 000

70 000



101 352

69 971

9 831

19 626

1 924


100 050

72 798

1 400

12 400

13 452


91 890

89 100

1 590

1 200



60 270

60 000





32 000

30 100

1 400




13 307

10 000

2 300

1 000


Total Europe

1 377 777

1 108 588

145 042

107 845

16 302