Page 46 - European Energy Innovation - Autumn 2016 publication
P. 46

46  Autumn 2016 European Energy Innovation


The way forward for reducing
CO2 emissions from cars¹

By Arno Behrens, Head of Energy, CEPS

The transport sector accounts               A TECHNOLOGY NEUTRAL POLICY                around for a long time but have not
            for around one-quarter of       FRAMEWORK                                  managed to penetrate the European
            EU greenhouse gas (GHG)         There are various technological options    market without tax breaks. In light of
            emissions. Cars and vans        to reduce GHG emissions from cars.         the long-term reduction targets, natural
alone contribute about 15% of total         In the short term, progress can still be   gas can only be a transition fuel, unless
EU CO2 emissions. Given its increasing      made through improving the efficiency      it is produced carbon free, e.g. by
importance in EU GHG emissions, the         of the internal combustion engine,         substitute natural gas produced from a
transport sector will play a significant    hybridisation, advanced biofuels,          power-to-gas (P2G) process.
role in the EU’s efforts to decarbonise     weight reduction, reduced resistance
its economy in line with its international  (surface and air), and intelligent         In the longer run, i.e. beyond 2030,
commitments.                                transport systems, including eco-          hydrogen fuel cells vehicles could
                                            routing and ecodriving.                    become an option.
Currently, transport is not covered
by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme          In the medium to long-term, hybrid,        Reductions will also occur through a
(EU ETS), although some elements            plug-in hybrid and electric cars could     better transport system and alternative
of transport activities are partially       allow for steeper emissions reductions.    mobile solutions. Existing ones are
covered by the ETS; namely EU               Current barriers to the deployment of      rapid transit systems, cycling and
aviation, and rail via the power sector     electric vehicles are cost, low range,     walking, urban planning, ICT, efficient
or refining of fuels. In the course of      and lack of infrastructure and consumer    comodality, green logistics or by
2016, the European Commission               acceptance. A key element will be the      getting the transport prices right.
will publish a Communication on the         development costs of batteries, but        There might be new potential in the
decarbonisation of transport, which         there is evidence that these costs have    digitalisation of transport and energy,
will be followed by specific legislation.   been falling rapidly.                      e.g. by the sharing economy of
This Communication will indicate how                                                   connected cars.
the transport sector will contribute        Another medium-term option is
to achieving the 30% CO2 emissions          biofuels with a positive effect on GHG     It is very unlikely that there will be one
reduction objective set for non-ETS         emissions, such as advanced bio-fuels.     single winning technology, not even in
sectors until 2030 (compared to             Biofuels may be an option for aviation     the long term. The decarbonisation of
2005). The European Commission has          and road haulage, as not all heavy         different modes such as passenger or
indicated that the Communication            duty vehicles are expected to fully        freight, but also of urban and long-
will focus on three elements: (i)           run on electricity, at least in the short  distance transport, will likely rely on a
improvements in the efficiency of           term. A major issue is scale and most      variety of technologies and fuels. This
vehicles, including through emissions       studies put the potential contribution     will mean that the policy framework
standards for cars and vans and the         of biofuels far below 10% of EU fuels      will need to be technology-neutral,
review of the test cycles; (ii) better      demand.                                    yet reward low-carbon solutions. It will
management of road transport activity,                                                 also require flexibility to support all
including modal shift, charging systems     Another option could be natural gas        low-carbon solutions while accounting
and intelligent transport systems; and      vehicles, which constitute an option       for technological change. Policy should
(iii) decarbonisation of fuels, including   for heavy duty vehicles. Passenger         also account for societal co-benefits
electrification and alternative fuels.      cars fuelled by natural gas have been      of technologies, such as reduction of

   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51