Report confirms opportunities for transport carbon and cost cutting 04 December 2012

Switching from diesel to gas, reducing rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag, and increasing hybrid and electric vehicle uptake are the unsurprising keys to cutting carbon in freight, according to a report commissioned by TKTN (Transport Knowledge Transfer Network) and LowCVP (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership).

The report, written by Ricardo-AEA, focuses on critical technical opportunities, but, importantly, also identifies options to overcome the main barriers in road transport, which, it says, is responsible for 7% of the UK's CO2 emissions.

It suggests, for example, that, with two UK firms already specialising in dual-fuel, encouraging a shift to CNG and LNG could lead to significant growth and export opportunities for the UK, as well as reducing emissions.

Hybrid and electric vehicles, it continues, are well suited to urban delivery and municipal duties – which account for 14% of all HGV CO2 emissions – potentially delivering 20—50% emissions savings.

Also, with more than half of the energy transmitted to the wheels of a long haul HGV wasted in rolling resistance and more than a third lost as aerodynamic drag, the report says more could be done to encourage the adoption of better technologies.

It cites low rolling resistance and single wide tyres, as well as aerodynamic aids. Together, says the Ricardo report, these could offer up to 10% 'well to wheel' CO2 savings while having the potential also to cut vehicle operators' costs.

Importantly, the report confirms that long haul and regional deliveries account for about 70 % of UK HGV CO2 emissions – so suggests that efforts be focused here.

"Switching from diesel to gas provides one of the clearest opportunities for cutting freight emissions," comments Andy Eastlake, managing director of LowCVP.

"The [Technology Strategy Board's] Low Carbon Truck Trials are a good start, but we need a long-term road transport gas strategy to build on the progress," he continues. "Like the car market, the hybrid truck market would benefit from incentives to encourage adoption."

And he adds: "Accrediting fuel saving technologies, such as aerodynamic aids and low-rolling-resistance tyres, would also accelerate market uptake of these carbon and, potentially, cost-reduction technologies."

Paul Everitt, the outgoing SMMT chief executive, states: "This report ... builds on the good work of the Automotive Council technology roadmap and the Low Carbon Truck Trial. It now requires action from government and other stakeholders to deliver gas, hybrid and electric commercial vehicles and the infrastructure to support them."

"The freight sector is of strategic importance to the UK economy and we need to support and aid its adoption of low carbon technologies," comments Neil Ridley, Transport KTN director.

"Learning from other sectors, this report enables all involved in the freight and logistics industry to identify the most significant contributors to carbon reduction and fuel improvements by vehicle duty cycle," he adds.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP)
Ricardo UK Ltd
SMMT Industry Forum

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