Why commercial road shipping needs clean, climate-friendly, fossil-free fuels
In 2014, transport became the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Europe. Reducing CO2 and improving air quality have become key priorities and EU member states are now required to source 10% of transport energy from renewable alternative sources, mainly biofuels, by 2020.
Cleaner, climate-friendly alternative fuel sources, like liquid biogas and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), can not only tackle our GHG problem, but also contribute to a more circular economy, as we can obtain them from our organic waste.
Some large-end users, for example, Carrefour and IKEA, have defined targets for alternative-fuelled trucks in their fleets; Carrefour aims at managing 200 delivery trucks run with Liquefied Biomethane (LBM) by 2020 and this year, the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona will invest 4 million euros in clean technologies to incorporate 40 Liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered trucks to the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.
Yet, because of its low cost and high mileage, fossil diesel still runs 96.6% of road transport.
Electric batteries, while a suitable alternative for city mobility, are not so cost-effective for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) or heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Electric trucks are around three times more expensive as conventional ones, making them too costly for commercial use. High-capacity batteries are heavy and big, which reduce the truck’s loading capacity and range, as they can only cover distances between 150 to 400 km on a single charge.
Although alternative fuel sources have been identified and suggested, there has still been no mass adoption of these solutions in the transport industry, due to lack of infrastructure and no steady biofuel supply.
Bax & Company are facilitating the adoption of these new fuels and introducing them to the market, through the Horizon 2020 COLHD project (Commercial vehicles using Optimised Liquid biofuels and HVO Drivetrains).
COLHD is supporting the crossroad between transportation and energy.
The project, led by IDIADA, MAN and Repsol, consists of four knowledge partners, three SMEs and nine industry partners, wanting to bring alternative biofuel solutions to road freight transport across Europe, whilst acknowledging the importance of reducing GHG emissions with affordable developments.
COLHD will contribute to energy efficient, sustainable cargo shipping, by replacing the usage of fossil diesel to transport around 0.6M tonnes of payload over 4 Blue Corridors in Europe, substituting it for alternative fuels. This is equivalent to substituting more than 750 million litres of fossil diesel by alternative fuels (HVO, LBM and LNG, bioLPG), over 5 years.
The consortium are currently developing three diesel dual fuel powertrains running on biogas and 2nd generation biofuels. The diesel dual fuel can run on a mix of diesel and LNG.
Natural gas vehicles generally emit 13–21% fewer emissions than comparable petrol and diesel vehicles on a well-to-wheels basis, and many fleet operators are looking to make the transition in the coming decade. Biofuels, like LBM, will later begin to replace LNG, leading to further emission reductions. The engines developed in the COLHD project are hybrid technologies that can run on a combination of alternative fuels and blends.
COLHD aims to enable European haulage companies and fleet operators to invest in high performance, clean, safe, affordable HDVs and HGVs, specifically designed to run on alternative renewable fuels, able to conveniently run through EU transport infrastructure. They are in the midst of transforming the commercial transportation model to a healthier one, and less dependent on fossil fuels.