The future of mobility will inevitably be sustainable. Important steps are already being taken in this direction thanks to technological innovation, the promotion of renewable energies and a change in the mentality of consumers. And the fact is that, in the case of Spain, transport accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Eurostat the European Union has met the target of powering 10% of transport with renewable energies set for 2020. This target, included in a 2009 Directive for the promotion of renewable energies, has been far exceeded by some countries, such as Sweden which uses sources such as green electricity, liquid biofuels or biomethane in more than 30% of its transport.
Committing to the diversification of technologies to promote sustainable mobility is a great option: it offers less risk, less dependence and greater chances of success. Driving innovation in different energies can also lead to new levels of efficiency and excellence, as well as fostering new sectors or activities.
Committing to the diversification of technologies to promote sustainable mobility is a great option
Thus, in recent years, significant efforts have been made to adopt a different mindset from the perspective of technological neutrality. In other words, with the objective of promoting sustainable mobility in mind, the players involved are given the freedom to choose the most appropriate technology.
Green hydrogen, produced from renewable and clean energy sources, is going to play an important role in the great technological leap in energy that is already underway. Its use in light vehicles will be feasible in the near future and the next step will be to use it on long distances and in heavy transport.
The use of hydrogen in vehicles offers three main benefits: it is very versatile, offers a considerable range and hydrogen fuel cells are quite light. This makes this technology feasible to decarbonise the heavy transport sector as well. In addition to offering similar ranges to petrol and very short charging times, the use of hydrogen opens up the way to fill all the space available for transporting goods – something which is impossible with electric batteries, as these would weigh half the total carrying weight of the lorry.
Hydrogen is also the best alternative to decarbonise the aviation and maritime transport sector. Although there are challenges to overcome, thanks to advances in research and development, in a few years we may see the use of hydrogen in these sectors become more popula
Electrification is crucial and it is advancing rapidly, but it cannot carry the entire burden of transport decarbonisation. This is why the promotion of alternatives such as renewable gases is so important.
This is why the promotion of alternatives such as renewable gases is so important
Biomethane, which is usually obtained from biogas can be used to fuel vehicles that transport large loads and travel many kilometres. It is therefore a real option for the road transport sector. In fact, its mixture with other gases is already common in Europe: it accounts for 18% of the gas used by professional hauliers, reaching percentages of 95% in Sweden and 90% in the Netherlands.
If we talk about maritime mobility, there is a fuel that plays a very important role, as it is currently the only real and sustainable alternative to advance in the decarbonisation of maritime transport.
This is LNG, or liquefied natural gas, which emits around 25% less CO2 than traditional fuels and improves air quality in port environments by eliminating 100% of pollutant emissions.
Thanks to the use of LNG, Spain alone already avoids the direct emission of some 34,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, ─equivalent to the emissions of 61,818 cars per year─ and 1,865 tonnes of sulphur oxides.
Synfuels derived from renewable sources do not release CO2 and can be used in any vehicle on the road today. In addition, users can refuel at existing facilities. These two advantages, producing net-zero emissions and not requiring the development of new technology, make them an exceptional ally in moving towards sustainable mobility as other technologies such as hydrogen become more widespread.
Biofuels from biomass are also an interesting alternative in transport sectors that are difficult to decarbonise. For example, heavy transport, aviation or maritime transport. In this regard, airlines such as Iberia are already operating long-haul flights with biofuels. First steps towards making progress in the sustainability of transport.