Embracing Alcohol-based Fuels as the Key to Decarbonizing Long-Haul Trucking

Automobile manufacturers such as Nissan, Chevy, Tesla, BYD, and others have successfully elevated battery-powered electric cars, vans, and even buses from being niche, expensive, and poor-performing transportation solutions to becoming mainstream and affordable with marked improvements in performance and range. But a BloombergNEF forecast shows that the 2040 market penetration of these EVs remains a relatively small proportion of the overall fleet, especially for heavy commercial vehicles. To meet our greenhouse gas mitigation goals and impending state and national emissions regulations, we need new solutions to road and other highly polluting segments of the transportation sector – air, ocean, and rail transport, for example – where economic and performance traction of clean fuels are critically lagging.

One sub-segment of the transportation sector that is especially difficult to decarbonize are those that rely on heavy-duty diesel engines. According to the 2014 ICCT State of Clean Transport Policy report, heavy-duty on-road vehicles emit 3 GtCO2e per year globally, accounting for 34 percent of transportation sector emissions and 8 percent of the 38 GtCO2e of global anthropogenic emissions. Diesel-fired long-haul trucks, which are used for cross-country and long-distance ground shipping, make up an overwhelming portion of these emissions.

– By Peter Sopher, Senior Associate at Clean Energy Ventures, Special to The Biofuels Digest

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