A new research study has been released in Europe by the International Road Union (IRU), which has studied the various ways which the trucking industry could meet the decarbonisation challenge and concluded that for the trucking industry, driving overall efficiency will give you a better bang for your buck.
The study looked at the European trucking industry as a whole and ran through the different ways the continent could deal with climate change and decarbonise the trucking industry using different methodologies.
The study looked at three different scenarios:
One was called the hydrogen push which emphasised moving the economy within the trucking industry across to a hydrogen based one. Not everything had to go across to hydrogen but capital expenditure would be targeted on hydrogen alongside other alternative methods of propulsion.
The second scenario examined was heavy electrification, where the emphasis would be upon electrifying as much of the trucking industry as possible and using other alternatives where necessary.
The third scenario was called the efficiency focus where a lot of investment was put into improvements in overall efficiency within the trucking industry with a wide number of different strategies across the board.
These included designing trucks to be more energy efficient, training drivers to be more efficient, using more sophisticated models to improve the efficiency of the industry as a whole, cutting out any dead running of vehicles on our roads.
The study found that the best bang for your buck was the efficiency focus. The hydrogen push was going to cost 1.41 Euros per kg of carbon dioxide saved. For heavy electrification the figure was 1.28, but where the focus was a holistic look at efficiency, the cost was considerably less at 1.06 Euro per kilogram of carbon dioxide saved.
This was a comprehensive and exhaustive study which came to a conclusion, which, on reflection we could all agree on. We know there are inefficiencies throughout operations, but we also know the right investment could considerably reduce them.
Even if we accept that the trucking industry in Europe is very different to that of Australia, the differences in the overall calculation are applicable to our situation, and the differences may be even larger in our situation. Australia does lead the world in overall road freight efficiency, but we also run longer distances, so overall energy saving should be more effective.
It is good to see NatRoad getting on board with this initiative. The association has recently announced it has joined the IRU, and has announced an industry white paper called Australian Road Freight Decarbonisation. This paper cites the findings of the IRU in its set of proposals.
The most important action needed is to start planning for decarbonisation rationally and set a clear pathway for the industry, aided by government support. We need to start the ball rolling ASAP and if the emphasis is on improved efficiency, we will get a better bang for our buck, and there’s nothing Aussies like more than a good bang for their buck.