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Photo Credit: BMVI | NPM

15.06.2020

Reducing CO2 in the mobility sector: What really matters is an intelligent mix of alternative powertrains and fuels

In its second interim report, Working Group 2 of the National Platform "Future of Mobility" reviews the contribution that alternative powertrains and fuels can make to reducing CO2 emissions in the mobility sector // The analysis is primarily focused on a comprehensive evaluation of the CO2 impact of electromobility concepts, hydrogen and fuel cells, as well as biomass- and electricity-based fuels on climate protection under the current boundary conditions

The second interim report presented in Berlin on 8 June by Working Group 2 "Alternative Drive Technologies and Fuels for Sustainable Mobility" of the National Platform "Future of Mobility" (NPM WG2) comes to the following conclusions:

  • The intelligent use of alternative powertrains and fuels in the transport sector can maximize the reduction of CO2 emissions.
  • Battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen and fuel cells, as well as alternative fuels for passenger cars and trucks in road transport are needed, as these are currently responsible for around 95 percent of the emissions in the mobility sector.
  • Reality check: Different stages of development and commercialisation of the technologies have to be taken into account - necessary investments and policy decisions have to take place now.
  • Technological openness is the key factor for a cost-efficient and effective use of current technology options.

"For the time being, the status quo of the powertrain and fuel options under consideration is very different in terms of technical maturity, market ramp-up and acceptance. In addition, there are the interests of the stakeholders involved. We have, of course, taken this into account and have succeeded in showing a potential for reducing CO2 emissions from transport within a corridor of 26 to 63 million tonnes by 2030. This means that, even under optimistic development and boundary conditions, additional efforts will be needed to achieve the target of 95 million tonnes by 2030 adopted by the Federal Government. Together with the other NPM working groups, we must now proceed even further into the analysis," said Prof. Dr. Barbara Lenz from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.), head of NPM WG2, in the press briefing.

Promoting affordable, sustainable and climate-friendly mobility: Alternative powertrains and fuels | NPM WG2

The recommendations for action of NPM WG2 at a glance:

  • The funding of research and innovation should be intensified for all powertrains and energy sources or fuel types. This involves both technological as well as application or market-oriented research.
  • For a targeted and sustainable reduction of CO2 emissions, the assessment of the mobility sector must be coupled with the energy sector. In addition, it is essential to consider the interaction with the industrial and heating sectors. The availability of "green" energy sources must be expanded.
  • Political support is needed for the market ramp-up of battery and vehicle production and for the creation of the necessary tank and charging infrastructure.
  • In order to enable the market launch and market ramp-up of electricity-based fuels, appropriate framework conditions, such as technology-specific quotas or tax incentives, must be created.
  • Due to the energy density of hydrogen, the use of fuel cells is already a viable option today, especially for high-mileage vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks. Carbon-neutral hydrogen production and infrastructure development should be promoted. To this end, the existing specialist skills and competencies in research and industry, in which Germany is a global leader, such as electrolysis, must be leveraged.
  • Alternative fuels are indispensable in maritime and air transport. In addition, electricity-based and, in the short term, second-generation biomass-based fuels should be used in road transport, for example in the existing fleet. Opportunities for increasing the efficiency of the combustion engine and hybrid powertrains should be further driven forward.

Further reports from the platform's six working groups can be found on the NPM website.

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