Smog emergency: better LPG and natural gas?

Cities besieged by smog hoods, continuous overruns of the legal thresholds, pollution levels that put the health of citizens at serious risk:alarms multiply, effective responses are fugitive.

There is a lack of a shared strategy and so we proceed to leopard-spot: bans on rain circulation,sometimes even in defiance of reason.

In these hours, the Air Quality Table meets in Brussels,to which Italy is invited together with other nations and certainly not to receive compliments: our country, indeed, is among the least virtuous in the field of reducing urban pollution.

In the documentation he will bring to Belgium, the Minister of the Environment also has a letter signed by Francesco Franchi, President of Assogasliquidi-Federchimica, which recalls the contribution that LPG and natural gas can make as virtuous energy sources,since their combustion is characterized by the almost total absence of emissions of fine particulates and other substances harmful to air quality and human health.

The call is to focus more and more on LPG and natural gas for domestic heating and mobility, the sectors most identified as responsible for air pollution, as they can be a valuable aid in meeting EU commitments on air quality.

For domestic heating, Assogasliquidi stresses the need to reduce emissions of fine particulates and other pollution from boilers and wood biomass-powered stoves,instead aiming for greater use of gas ones.

The Innovhub-Experimental Stations for Industry (Milan Chamber of Commerce) compared the emissions of all fuels used for domestic heating – LPG, natural gas, diesel, pellets and wood – highlighting the high emissions of particulate matter (PM) and Benzoapirene,which are very harmful to human health, pellet and wood appliances.

The study also analysed the effects of aging on pellet fixtures:after a year and two years of operation, even high-grade stoves, without maintenance, worsen performance and produce high emissions of carbon monoxide and Benzoapirene.

Data collected by Innovhub show that 100 grams of PM a pellet stove produces them running 32 hours,one gas after 46,000 hours, and a Euro5 car after 20,000 km traveled.

Therefore, writes Franchi, it seems necessary for the Ministry to revise incentive policies for the benefit of biomass-powered heating systems and introduce the obligation of maintenance, at least annually; Moreover, the tax breaks, confirmed by the 2018 Budget Act, should only be reserved for emissive class installations of 5.

At the same time, Assogasliquidi wants an overhaul of the Thermal Account,they only require for the replacement of older plants with those of emissive class at least 4.

On the mobility front, Franchi recalls how LPG and LNG have already been identified by the European DAFI Directive as alternative fuels on which to focus on sustainable mobility: they are ready and available solutions for private travel, heavy road transport and maritime navigation.

The demand is that the two fuels are increasingly taken into account in the choices of government and local government to reduce polluting emissions and to meet Italy’s commitments at EU level on air quality.