How to achieve net zero emissions?
Three solutions already exist with the potential to meet the challenge of achieving net zero emissions while responding to the predicted growth in road freight volumes:
Alternative and renewable fuels
While the limelight is on battery electric vehicles, IRU has a more comprehensive vision of the energy and technology mix of the future. One litre of diesel can store 120 times more energy than a li-on battery. Only CNG, LNG and hydrogen offer competitive energy contents and represent more flexible and suitable fuel options for heavier vehicles over longer distances.
Battery cells also have a large CO2 footprint – it takes 50 tonnes of CO2 to produce the battery of a distribution truck with a 300km autonomy. For this CO2 equivalent, a diesel truck would be able to cover 100,000 km.
Making the switch to alternative energy sources however entails fostering an enabling environment and building the right refueling and charging infrastructure.
High capacity vehicles
The use of high capacity vehicles (25,25m long and 44 tonnes or above) represents the quickest way to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40%. These vehicles can also be deployed safely on our roads and would make road transport more efficient. Replacing three standard trucks by two high capacity vehicles would reduce the European truck fleet by over 2 million units, which equals 30% less traffic on the roads.
Optimising road transport through the roll-out of digital tools and processes will reduce time, costs and emissions drastically, with trucks no longer stuck at borders for long periods of time.
By taking advantage of the intermodal possibilities offered by the TIR system, goods can reach their destination in a quicker and greener manner, cheaper than aviation and faster than rail. Stronger cooperation between all stakeholders is however needed to better promote the use of such intermodal transport options.
* Source: Worldbank