Distribution network for alternative fuels to be developed

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 6.5.2015 14.10
News item

In the transport sector a shift towards the use of alternative fuels has started. The aim is to replace oil-based, fossil fuels by alternative fuels. The most important alternative fuels and their distribution network must be developed with a focus on the special needs of each transport mode, says an expert group in its preliminary study report about alternative propulsion systems for transport.

Development of alternative fuel markets reduces dependence on oil-based fuels and thus decreases greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in transport. The development of the markets also improves security of supply, supports economic growth and enhances competitiveness of the Finnish industry.

Promotion of alternative propulsion systems calls for an entirely new distribution infrastructure or for changes to the existing system with regard to, for example, electricity and gas. The expert group proposes that the fuel distribution network and the network of recharging points for electric vehicles be mainly built on market terms in Finland. When possible, EU and national aid could be used in the construction process.

According to the expert group, the state should ensure that new technologies using alternative propulsion systems be increasingly used in vehicles. This way the distribution infrastructure of these technologies could be made profitable in the long term. The state's role is not to rank the alternatives.

The municipalities are not expected to construct or finance themselves the distribution infrastructure for alternative propulsion systems. Their role is to participate, where necessary, in the planning of the infrastructure and to ensure that it links at the local level with the rest of the transport network.

The expert group has examined the present state as well as the aims, scope and construction schedule of the fuel distribution network. The areas included in the study were electronic transport, fluid biofuels requiring a separate distribution, natural gas and biogas, alternative propulsion systems in water transport and hydrogen.

Possible means to promote the alternative fuels market could include new economic instruments, such as tax reliefs.

The expert group had representatives from central government administration, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and energy companies. The distribution network development will continue under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The work is based on the EU Directive on the alternative fuels distribution infrastructure. Each Member State shall adopt a national policy framework for the development of the market as regards alternative fuels in the transport sector and the deployment of the relevant infrastructure. The Directive covers all transport modes and all alternative fuels.

Ms Maria Rautavirta, Senior Engineer, tel. +358 295 34 2577
Ms Saara Jääskeläinen, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2560