Communication for Sustainable Development

Europe to have an oil-free sustainable transport by 2050

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This is one of the main conclusions drawn from the Report of the European expert group on future transport fuels, which has been presented to the European Commission. This report, which for the first time has developed a comprehensive approach covering the whole transport sector, affirms that the European Union will have to move to an oil-free and largely CO2-free energy supply for transport if it wants to meet the objectives set in terms of environmental impact and security of energy supply.
According to the results put forward by the Report of the European expert group on future transport fuels, the demand from all transport modes could be met through a combination of electricity (batteries or hydrogen/fuel cells) and biofuels as main options, synthetic fuels (increasingly from renewable resources) as a bridging option, methane (natural gas and biomethane) as complementary fuel, and LPG as supplement.
These results, which must now be analysed by the European Commission, will be integrated in the Clean Transport Systems (CTS) initiative to be launched later this year in order to meet with the objectives set in the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable growth. The CTS initiative intends to develop a consistent long-term strategy for fully meeting the energy demands of the transport sector from alternative and sustainable sources by 2050 and the objective on CO2 emissions reduction of  an overall 80-95% by 2050 in relation to 1990 levels.

Towards a sustainable transport in the European Union by 2050

Transport has been the sector most resilient to efforts to reduce CO2 emissions due to its strong  dependence on fossil energy sources and its steady growth, offsetting the considerable vehicle  efficiency gains made.  Although alternative fuels are the ultimate solution to decarbonise transport, by gradually substituting fossil energy sources, technical and economic viability, efficient use of primary energy sources and market acceptance, will be decisive for a competitive acquisition of market share by the different fuels and vehicle technologies.
In this context, alternative fuels combination will have to be varied, as different modes of transport require different options of alternative fuels. Fuels with higher energy density are more suited to longer-distance operations, such as road freight transport, maritime transport, and aviation. Compatibility of new fuels with current technologies and infrastructure, or the need for disruptive system changes should be taken into account as important factors, determining in particular the economics of the different options.
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