Biomethane in the tank: this car runs on gas from straw

Biomethane in the tank: this car runs on gas from straw

Cars that run on natural gas tend to be in the shadows compared to electrically powered vehicles. But they are also more environmentally friendly and conserve resources. A couple from puchheim wants to draw attention to this fact.

Puchheim – straw in the tank the words are written in big green letters on sabine schober’s car. And that’s no joke. Since July last year, this car from Puchheim has been running exclusively on biomethane as fuel. When their 16-year-old passat with a diesel engine became more and more expensive to maintain, sabine schober and her husband stephan first thought about buying an electric car. ÖThe new vehicle had to be ecological. The puchheim couple has been working on this issue for some time now. Sabine schober is also a member of the puchheim environmental advisory board. „Our house is completely climate neutral", tells stephan schober (53).

E-car fails

But the topic of e-cars ultimately fell through. The power line to the garage alone would have cost 3000 euros. "there are also negative aspects to e-cars," says van aerle, referring to the production of batteries, which is not yet climate-neutral. And so it finally came differently. "We asked about gas-powered cars."

The couple also came across the topic of biomethane from straw. And three months later, the seat leon ST TGI finally arrived on their doorstep. Sabine Schober (56) is thrilled with her new vehicle: "It drives great, I’m more than satisfied."the car accelerates in a similar way to a conventionally powered vehicle. "you can hardly hear the engine, but otherwise there’s no difference between it and a gasoline or diesel," says the puchheim resident. What’s more, it doesn’t stink when you fill up, and there are no more dirty fingers. Her husband stephan adds: "due to the high weight on the rear axle, it sits very well on the road."

Range of up to 400 kilometers

This weight is caused by the tank – a 200-kilogram construction made of stainless steel. This is necessary to withstand the high pressure under which the gas is stored in the tank. The weight of the methane, which is sold by the kilogram rather than by the liter, is comparatively low. The tank holds a good 15 kilos. With a consumption of around four kilograms per 100 kilometers, the car has a range of 350 to 400 kilometers. And sabine and stephan schober are often exhausted by this.

"our son is studying in ulm, our daughter was first in ravensburg and is now in heidelberg," says the puchheim woman. But when it comes to refueling, they have to plan well in advance. Because in germany there are just 853 gas stations that offer natural gas. With the bio version, it’s even a few less. "it’s not much, but the gas stations are spread out pretty evenly," says stephan schober.

Tax benefit

So far, he and his wife have managed to drive exclusively on biomethane. But the car also has a 50-liter gasoline tank for emergencies. Financially, the switch to the natural gas car has also paid off for the schobers. "tax-wise, it is valued like an electric car," explains stephan schober. In addition, the price of natural gas is just over one euro per kilo. "with biomethane, it’s about 15 cents more," says the puchheimer. In addition, the price is not subject to the typical fluctuations of gasoline.

Regulars’ table

With their natural gas car, sabine and stephan schober feel a bit like exotics. "there are just 80,000 registered vehicles in germany," they say. at least there is a german club for owners of such cars in munich. There, sabine and stephan schober have also become members and are planning to join the club on 3. april a stammtisch for the munich region. And last but not least, the club membership has also put the pair in the public spotlight.

"that was the start of a tv career", says stephan schober. On several occasions, the club has hosted camera crews. Stephan schober hopes for a further boost for CNG cars, which are overshadowed by e-cars in the public eye. They no longer play a role in the schobers’ lives. "the more we looked into e-mobility, the more we realized that we had made the right decision at the time," says sabine schober.

How biomethane is produced as a clean alternative to gasoline

Unlike autogas, which is a byproduct of natural gas and oil production and refining, biomethane is not produced from fossil fuels but from biomass. Methane also occurs as a fossil fuel (natural gas). In the bio variant, however, the gas is obtained from straw, slurry or energy crops such as rapeseed. The phrase "straw in the tank" on the car of sabine and stephan schober is thus to be taken literally.

While LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is the name given to autogas, which consists mainly of butane and propane, CNG (compressed natural gas) is the name given to natural gas and biomethane. Methane burns cleaner than gasoline. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen emissions are lower as a result. With biomethane, only the amount of carbon dioxide that was previously bound by the plant is released.

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