Transport Energy Network report says ‘no silver bullet’

A new industry report has called for greater diversity in the approach towards implementing zero carbon technology.

The study by the Transport Energy Network (TEN) – a collaboration of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, LowCVP and the University of Brighton – said there was no ‘single bullet’ solution for decarbonising transport and warns against over-reliance on any one technology.

It called on policy-makers and industry to develop a range of power options to meet 2050 targets, including co-ordinated research and development to diversify vehicle technologies, scaling up green fuels, and moving away from tailpipe approaches to measuring carbon emissions in favour of a life-cycle approach.

The Understanding Decarbonised Transport in 2050 report suggests an over-reliance on any single technology could jeopardise the UK’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions. It made ten recommendations overall, including looking at sustainable diesel, biomethane and hydrogen alongside electricity as these fuels will work in heavy industries and haulage.

It also calls on the UK Government to consider changing emissions legislation to ensure all industries assess their carbon footprint from transport more consistently by examining the pollution generated across the whole life-cycle of a vehicle rather than relying on current tailpipe-based measures. 

Other recommendations include urging government policy-makers to be ‘technology agnostic’ when it comes to supporting the different solutions necessary to achieve net zero, and greater collaboration across industry to develop a shared vision of how to decarbonise transport in the most cost-effective way. 

The study is the first in a series of expert studies by the Transport Energy Network and was supported by a series of ‘roadmaps’ exploring different transport modes, energy solutions and propulsion methods for maritime, aviation and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as on-road transport. 

Philippa Oldham, Stakeholder Engagement Director at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “This report shows the power of thinking holistically about green transport and makes a powerful case for why we must not put all our eggs in one basket when supporting decarbonisation technologies. 

“We particularly need to recognise the complexity and variation in approach necessary across sectors, while acknowledging the gains that can be made when different sectors work together on a shared approach. 

“The whole purpose of the new Transport Energy Network was to start a conversation between sectors and encourage greater collaboration. We hope it will now play an important role in bringing people together so we can secure the right portfolio of power options to meet our 2050 targets.”

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.