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New report outlines role of HGVs in future energy system

Thu 29 August 2019 | Back to news list

A new report from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) says that the transition to zero emissions in the HGV sector may require hybrid vehicles.
‘HGVs and their role in a future energy system’, addresses the decarbonisation options for HGVs as part of the wider energy system as the UK strives to achieve a net zero energy system.
HGVs account for around 4% of total UK carbon emissions and, in some scenarios, this could rise to a 15% share by 2050. Electrification of the HGV fleet is the most promising long-term solution, but the fleet duty cycle and cost/packaging requirements pose challenges for existing technologies. The report says that gas-electric plug-in hybrid vehicles could act as a bridging solution from 2025 to 2040 whilst fully zero CO2 tailpipe emissions options are developed.
According to the report, the use of hydrogen as an energy vector, either in zero emission platform solutions, or in plug-in hybrids, will require the supply of large volumes of cheap, clean hydrogen. This reinforces the need, it says, to deploy Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) technologies.
Rather than the ability of the energy system infrastructure to generate and distribute electricity, the report suggests that it is likely to be the availability of suitable vehicle platform solutions which will be the largest constraint on the electrification of HGVs.
The research also shows that an effective carbon price across the energy system would enable a transition to low and zero emission HGVs.
The report says that there is a cost associated with decarbonisation of the energy system, and in the absence of a carbon price, other ways to counter the "naturally risk averse nature of fleet purchasers" will also need to be found if the uptake of new technologies is to accelerate.
LowCVP viewpoint:  As this report highlights, the truck market is one of the most varied and complex areas of road transport to decarbonise, requiring a range of steps and solutions.  The LowCVP Commercial Vehicle Working Group (CVWG) is currently working to define what is an Ultra Low Emission Truck in order that policies can be developed and delivered to encourage their uptake. The group is also working on the introduction of high blend renewable fuels on behalf of OLEV and the Department for Transport. Members can engage in these discussions and help shape the low carbon HGV sector via the CVWG and Fuels Working Group meetings this autumn.
Related news: Daimler's all-electric heavy truck has gone on trial in the United States. The eCascadia has a range of up to 250 miles and - along with the all-electric freightliner, eM2 - is expected to go on general sale in 2021. (Link)

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