Biofuels, ammonia, hydrogen meet over 80% of fuel needs for shipping in 2070, says IEA

These changes require further tightening of efficiency targets and low-carbon fuel standards to close the price gap with fossil fuels and de-risk investment,

…IEA explained in its new ‘Energy Technology Perspectives 2020’ report.

In 2019, transport accounted for nearly 30% of global final energy use and 23% of total energy sector direct CO2 emissions.

As explained, reducing oil use and CO2 emissions in long-distance transport modes – heavy-duty trucking, maritime shipping and aviation– is particularly difficult because of their energy and power density requirements: technically viable alternative fuel technologies are not yet very advanced and are also likely to initially cost more than oil-based fuels.

Although each of the three sub-sectors have been hit hard by the Covid‑19 pandemic, rising incomes and population growth in the longer term are expected to continue to drive up demand, exacerbating the decarbonization challenge.

In the Sustainable Development Scenario, operational and technical innovations unlock energy efficiency gains in the short to medium term, while switching to low-carbon fuels and electric powertrains drives emissions reductions in the long term. Yet none of the three sub-sectors is decarbonized by 2070 when collectively they emit 1.0 GtCO2.

The decarbonization of these sub-sectors will require long-term planning and government support. R&D of alternative powertrains and fuels is needed to reduce costs and improve performance, and measures to develop associated infrastructure. More than 60% of the emissions reductions in 2070 come from technologies that are not commercially available today.

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