Guillermo Gómez Herrera
Consultoría Sustentable G2H SAS de CV
Expert Contributor

The Opportunity for Natural Gas in the Energy Transition

By Guillermo Gómez Herrera | Fri, 06/24/2022 - 13:00

Among today’s leading issues is climate change and its impact globally. Among the main contributors is excessive pollution, which, in many cases, involves the burning of fuel, mainly for vehicular use.

Many initiatives have been proposed to promote a change in the use of traditional fuels to other less polluting options, or clean resources. To achieve this, certain factors need to be in place:

  • Population awareness of the local and general environmental situation
  • Level of adoption or development of new vehicle technologies
  • Potential for production or acquisition of less polluting fuels or green alternatives
  • Energy matrix and percentage of use in mobility
  • Maturity of public policies and technical-legal regulation

These "generalities" can be very easy to identify if we segment the problem by country, understanding that degree of development, as well as location, also make a difference.

In the specific case of Mexico, like many developing countries, a great potential has been identified for the development of energy alternatives, such as the production of solar and wind energy, as well as the introduction of energy vectors, such as green hydrogen and biogas. However, the energy transition in the mobility sector continues to be a milestone that we have yet to reach.

Although the trend is clearly toward the use of green energies, the energy matrix reflects a great dependence on traditional fuels for the mobility sector. How then, can we go from black to white? It may be difficult but it is not impossible; however, a transitional process is required. The same can be said about the use of green energies in the mobility sector.

With the established approach, it is important to identify the strengths that would help us as a country to implement a real but, above all, an orderly transition. That is where the opportunity with natural gas for vehicular use makes sense.

It is well known that natural gas is a hydrocarbon; however, of this family, it is the simplest in its chemical configuration, which in turn provides very beneficial characteristics in its general and vehicular use, including safety, a substantial reduction of pollutants resulting from its combustion and cost, especially when compared to traditional fuels.

It is not a green energy source; however, it is considered a transitional energy source. At the government level, it is considered part of the solution toward energy sovereignty and in complying with international environmental commitments.

On this subject, it is worth noting that it could even be a solution for reducing the environmental contingency scenarios that are more frequent today in large cities, not only in Mexico but throughout the world.

Mexico has immense potential to trigger the use of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV). Certain factors make it possible to trace a path toward an efficient energy transition in the mobility sector:

  • Infrastructure is in place
  • Technological development is extensive and adoption is a reality
  • The privileged geographical location for the production or acquisition of natural gas
  • There is a technical-legal regulatory base
  • An applied and focused union made up of the actors in the ecosystem

Although many factors could be added, there are also challenges and above all paradigms to overcome. Among them:

  • The real opportunity for using compressed natural gas (CNG) and diffusion
  • Incentives for the use of CNG
  • Adoption as part of the energy solution

In addition, and more importantly, is the establishment of a route for the energy transition in terms of mobility, with the flag of transition being Natural Gas Vehicles.

The key to the energy transition is to identify the status in which we find ourselves, the opportunities we have and identifying what can be reflected in actions today, all without losing sight of the ultimate goal of sustainability; however, we must start with what can bring or add an immediate benefit.