The future of car energy
Despite major inroads being made in regard to the reduction of the carbon footprint created by the UK transport industry, it now exists as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, producing one per cent more per annum than energy supplies. The UK government, in a bid to further prevent damaging climate change, has introduced a series of drastic measures, the starkest being 2050 Net Zero emissions, which was drawn into legislation.
Despite the law not suggesting that the UK wouldn’t produce any carbon emissions whatsoever as of 2050, it does detail how any that is created must be offset. Simon Bullock, a Friends of the Earth climate campaigner argued how: ‘the transport sector is failing to play its part in slashing emissions’.
Climate change isn’t the only area at risk from the vast carbon emissions escaping into the atmosphere. Air pollution also affects public health, with 92% of the global population living in places where air quality levels exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) limits. Emissions from transport are having a huge impact on our day-to-lives and our carbon footprint alike, so it’s imperative that we understand the new developments and fuel alternatives that are helping create a greener and healthier future for the way we drive.
Here, LPG supplier, Flogas, has taken a look at the way car energy is changing here in the UK, as the motor industry attempts to become more environmentally friendly inline with government proposals.
With an enhanced sense of social conscience and the introduction of various government legislations, the way we fuel our cars in the future is undeniably going to change a considerable fashion. In the most part, this is mainly due to the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, which aims to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
The Strategy also plans to increase the supply and sustainability of low carbon fuels, as a way to reduce emissions from the existing vehicles already on our roads. These legislations haven’t just been introduced at Westminster for national effect however, as London has recently experienced. Sadiq Khan, the city’s Mayor, introduced the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) on 8th April 2019, which stipulates that vehicles driving within the zone must meet new, tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge.
The aim is to improve air quality and lower emissions from conventional petrol and diesel-run vehicles in central London, with emissions set to fall by as much as 45% by 2020. Of course, the developments in regard to legislation and initiatives are certainly positive however, will the alternative fuel sources successfully be able to fill the void left by fossil fuels?
Otherwise known as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), Autogas is the most accessible alternative fuel on the market – with over 170,000 Autogas vehicles currently on the road across the UK, serviced by more than 1,400 refuelling stations.
As well as its appeal for drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint, Autogas is a popular choice for those looking to cut fuel costs compared to conventional fuels. Extensive existing infrastructure, plentiful supply and serious cost- and carbon-cutting potential mean LPG is positioned as the ideal interim fuel in the move away from petrol and diesel, and towards Net Zero.
Of course, Autogas offers immense positives however, there is another gas on the market gaining serious traction as a contender for replacing carbon-heavy fossil fuels. As the cleanest burning fossil fuel available, LNG (liquefied natural gas) has quickly become the world’s fastest growing gas supply source.
As well as being highly efficient, it emits significantly fewer pollutants and offers CO2 savings of 20% compared to diesel, making it ideal for businesses who own large truck fleets and need to adhere to stringent air pollution controls. Bio-LNG takes this one step further, offering CO2 savings of over 80%.
Known as liquefied biomethane, Bio-LNG is a renewable fuel that’s created during the break down of organic matter, meaning it can be produced anywhere anaerobic digestion occurs (AD).
The evolution of electric
Electric cars are by no means a new concept, with the development of such vehicles tracing back decades. However, it was thought of as more of an ideal to aspire to rather than a serious catalyst in the fight against climate change. This has all changed in the last decade, with the development of advanced electric vehicle technology that has given electric cars mainstream credibility and appeal.
Car manufacturers and data analysts alike have suggested that the Gen Z demographic can be thanked for the considerable growth in the popularity of EVs. Research suggests that people aged 18-24 are the most likely to own an electric vehicle, with the main reason being the climate crisis.
Despite significant inroads occurring in regard to development, the infrastructure to support this upsurge in interest is yet to match the technology available. With a chronic shortage of public charging points, one of the biggest impediments to many buying an electric car is the fear of running out of power and the risk of not being able to recharge on the go.
We are still at least a few decades away from diesel and petrol vehicles falling from their perch at the top of the automotive industry however, the alternatives that look set to replace once that day comes are proving more than capable.