Alternative fuels have the potential to replace traditional diesel in all forms of European transport, making the sector entirely sustainable by 2050, the European Commission was told yesterday.
A report by the European expert group on future transport fuels says that a mix of biofuels, synthetic fuels, methane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can enhance progress made by electric and fuel cell vehicles to meet future demand from road, rail, aviation and maritime transportation.
Emissions from transport have increased across the EU, representing almost 20 per cent of its overall greenhouse gas emissions output, and the bloc has targeted alternative fuels as one method of reducing CO2 emissions by 80-95 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050.
Yet transport has been particularly resistant to Brussels’ efforts to cut it emissions, with aviation only coming under the carbon quotas set by the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2013, and the prospect of including shipping fraught with legal difficulties.
The report says that, in theory, a single biofuel could meet the requirements of all forms of transport and lower emissions across the sector.
However, it recommends a range of alternatives are developed, as feedstock availability would probably constrain supply for a single-source fuel, while the fact that the majority of member states have yet to implement biofuel sustainability criteria – and are therefore technically in breach of EU law – complicates matters further.
Different demands from cars, planes and trains also necessitate different fuels, it says. Fuels with higher energy density are more suited to longer-distance operations, such as road freight transport, maritime transport and aviation.
Vice president Siim Kallas, the European commissioner responsible for transport, says: “If we are to achieve a truly sustainable transport, then we will have to consider alternative fuels. For this we need to take into account the needs of all transport modes.”
The commission says the report’s findings would be fed into its “initiative on clean transport systems”, which will report later this year on a strategy to meet the energy demands of the transport sector from alternative and sustainable sources by 2050.
(source: www.businessgreen.com )
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