Study on Transportation Technology to 2050 Calls for Integrated Policy Approach to Achieve Sustainability
|Ratings on the environmental acceptability of future powertrain options. The report evaluates sustainability based on the “3As”: Accessibility, Availability and Acceptability. Click to enlarge.|
Successfully tackling the problem of sustainable transportation globally will require the interplay of emerging vehicle technologies with a rational, market-based policy approach, according to a new study by the World Energy Council.
The first pillar for policy making is the energy objective, according to the study, Transport Technologies and Policy Scenarios to 2050. That objective needs to be described in terms of the type of energy to be saved (total energy, fossil energy, petroleum energy, GHG emissions), the numerical target, or the target range and the timeframe.
That policy should not be based on technology alone, the study cautions. Rather, it should be based on an integrated approach which considers transportation technology alongside contributions from other actors in the energy chain, including fuels, governments and consumers.
The approach addresses the behaviour of business and private consumers in purchasing decisions and use of energy, of fuel suppliers in the energy content of their fuels, of equipment manufactures in the efficiency of their products and of governments in their responsibility for the transportation environment. It must be ensured that for all stakeholders a productive market is in place which financially rewards behaviour leading to higher efficiency.—“Transport Technologies and Policy Scenarios to 2050”
Technologies for Efficiency. The report authors expect that passenger vehicle technology will remain highly dependent on petroleum fuels and internal combustion engines (ICE) for the foreseeable future.
Increasing efficiency of the ICE-based powertrains will come through advanced diesels, new combustion regimes, and hybridization. Diesel and hybrid electric vehicles present a cost effective short-, medium- and long-term method to increase mobility energy efficiency and reduce total mobility energy consumption.
The report also sees plug-in hybrids as a high-potential interim solution due to the petroleum savings provided through pure electric driving in addition to the conventional hybrid regeneration function.
A [US] rollout scenario in the EPA analysis estimates PHEV passenger vehicle sales penetration of 15% by 2030, resulting in 9% of vehicle stock in 2030. In this scenario, nearly 2 billion barrels of gasoline are saved by 2030. Savings in 2030 represent approximately 5.5% of annual consumption. The net costs are calculated to be negative by approximately 2024, through cost reductions with high production volumes and fuel savings.
A few of the other conclusions of the report include:
Second-generation biofuels such as synthetic biomass-to-liquids (BtL), cellulosic ethanol and hydrotreated fats or oils will grow significantly by 2035. The report sees gas-to-liquids (GtL) growing strongly through the next decade. The production of BtL and cellulosic ethanol is, however, accompanied by a significant increase in primary energy consumption due to the energy consumed in their production process. Other advanced biofuels are under development and may present viable long-term options, according to the report.
Due to high greenhouse gas emissions, coal-based fuels such as CTL are not deemed as viable alternatives on large scale, even if some regions with low CO2 concerns are already preparing a step into CTL production today.
By 2050, gasoline and diesel fuels will still play a major role, but their biofuel portion will be significant.
Electric power utilization in transport will also increase, in particular in OECD and richer developing countries. This will be manifested as increased hybridization with a potentially significant element of pure electric vehicles powered by batteries and/or fuel cells.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles offer most of the benefits of electric vehicles, with the convenience of conventional internal combustion engines. The presence of two full powertrains in a plug-in hybrid vehicle means that for this technology to become viable for the mass market, substantial reductions in the cost of the electric powertrain are essential.
Hydrogen fuel and fuel cell vehicles are expected to gain a market foothold by 2035 and grow towards 2050. By 2050, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may be able to compete with diesel and electric hybrid vehicles in terms of cost efficiency of reduction in energy consumption, but this depends strongly on the source of the fuel.
|Available demand management measures.|
Transport system efficiency. demand. In addition to the “hard” technology measures for reducing transportation energy consumption, there are “intermediate” measures, including regulations, taxes and pricing measures. A third category of measures are the “soft” technologies, which include those measures that can affect demand for mobility, thereby reducing total travel and therefore energy consumption.
Examples of these intermediate and soft measures include:
Urban planning in existing or growing urban areas.
Demand management through offering viable transport alternatives.
Utilizing modern communications technology to reduce vehicle miles travelled per vehicle (e.g. telecommuting).
Utilizing modern communications technology to improve driving efficiency (e.g. telematics, traffic control).
Offering mass transit systems.
Pricing strategies to encourage less driving or switching to more efficient modes.
Government regulations, which encourage or enforce the use of certain technologies or modes of transport.
Elements of the integrated policy approach. The report lists 10 measures and technologies (levers) and contributors that policy makers can use in an integrated approach to reduce transport energy consumption:
Vehicle Efficiency – Manufacturers
Fuel energy intensity - Fuel suppliers
Efficiency of components - Component suppliers (e.g. air conditioning)
Mode selection - Consumers
Vehicle purchase - Consumers
Travel demand - Consumers
Travel efficiency - Consumers & service providers
Driving style - Drivers (private or public)
Maintenance - Drivers
Transport infrastructure - Governments
The World Energy Council, established in 1923, is a multi-energy organization with autonomous Member Committees in 94 countries, including most of the largest energy-producing and energy consuming countries. The organisation covers all types of energy, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, and renewables, and is UN-accredited, non-governmental, non-commercial and non-aligned.
The report is the product of the WEC’s Transport Specialist Study Group, led by Dr. Simon Godwin of DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG). Participants in the study group include representatives from BMW; Cummins; Honda; Insitut Français du Petrole; Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo & Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Japan Energy Association; Nissan; PSA; and Toyota.