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UK LowCVP says road transport CO2 reductions require both improved vehicle efficiency and lower carbon fuels; need for advanced liquid fuels

In its response to the UK Department for Transport’s call for evidence on advanced fuels, the LowCVP (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) says that delivering the level of CO2 reductions required from road transport will require both improved vehicle efficiency and reduced carbon intensity of fuels.

Advanced liquid fuels—in particular advanced biofuels—will be required to deliver the majority of CO2 emission reductions from some sections of road transport to 2050. However, there is currently no clarity of vision on future fuels policy, particularly biofuels, in the UK which is a barrier to the investment and deployment of advanced fuels, the organization noted.

The important role of electrification and hydrogen in road transport will continue to develop as a mainstay of future transport, but there remain challenges to creating a mass market for electric vehicles such as establishing a widespread recharging infrastructure and the need to decarbonize the UK’s generating capacity.

Basing its response on input received during a member workshop, as well as prior work to develop a low carbon fuels road map, the LowCVP said that the Government should support the deployment of a range of advanced fuels which deliver significant carbon savings to the road transport sector.

Complementing the work of the Automotive Council in developing automotive technology roadmaps, the LowCVP has produced a fuels road map which identifies the fuels which will be required up to 2030 to deliver the vision of ultra-low carbon road transport by 2050.

The LowCVP fuels road map sought industry input from both the fuel and automotive sector stakeholders.

A key conclusion of the work is the important role liquid fuels will need to play based, initially, on first generation biofuels and progressively on advanced biofuels and synthetic fuels.

The response notes that there is no agreed specification for adding ethanol to gasoline beyond E10. With limited drop-in fuels available for gasoline, the LowCVP believes that a gasoline fuel specification with higher octane allowing for a higher blend of biofuel will be needed such as E20 (or equivalent with clear and detailed specifications allowing a range of oxygenate approaches).

Future fuel specifications need to be agreed at European or international level and the LowCVP says that work should commence as soon as possible to progress this.

Agreement on the specification of future fuel will be vital to secure carbon emissions from the fuel life-cycle and efficiency improvements from the vehicles that use the fuel. This needs to be agreed well in advance to allow investment to take place to develop the engines required and to produce the fuel.

The response says that there are quality concerns regarding some biodiesel fuels which could undermine the market acceptance of B7 in the period to 2020. Further investigation is needed in this area and investment encouraged to address quality concerns and strengthen the specifications. The introduction of drop-in biodiesel fuels should resolve this issue in the next decade.

The LowCVP believes that the vision of near-zero carbon new cars and vans in 2040 needs a clear definition to allow the development of the right technology to deliver the required carbon saving. There will continue to be a role for advanced fuels and it is vital that the long-term targets are established in a technology neutral way.

In order to deliver ultra-low carbon road transport by 2050 requires coordination between the automotive and fuels sectors. Agreement will be required at European and wider international levels on future fuel specifications.


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