COP26 FON blog 4: Transport decarbonisation

Continuing with his exclusive blog for Fuel Oil News, covering news from COP26, Stephen Marcos Jones, director-general UKPIA, shares the latest updates from Transport Day with transport decarbonisation, low carbon fuels and hydrogen solutions.

Stephen Marcos Jones CPO26 blog

“It’s transport day at COP26. Transport is the largest emitter of CO2 in the UK. We believe we must look at all technology options available to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, especially with no regret solutions in the near term.”

What do we mean by ‘no regret’?

“This year, the UK Government changed regulations to increase the amount of ethanol in petrol, the so-called E10 grade fuel. The impact of this is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road every year with no perceptible changes for the majority of consumers.

“This is a perfect example of a progressive measure to reduce emissions until a greater uptake of electric vehicles or other zero-carbon transport fuels emerge at scale. It reduces emissions today, and it promotes further investment into renewable fuels that will be vital to decarbonising hard to abate sectors like HGVs, marine and aviation.

“The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) is already set to increase biofuel content to 14.6% by 2032. We are keen to work with the DfT to see if that can be increased further, as the challenges of electrifying or even hydrogen fuelling HGVs and other high duty vehicles mean that deployment may still be years away from being delivered at scale.

“That said, hydrogen will provide opportunities for zero-emission vehicles. As were showcased at COP26, hydrogen buses, tractors and even a cargo submarine are all being developed and can play a big part in the future of net-zero transport.

“Like low carbon fuels, the downstream sector is already supporting hydrogen, and supplies it to forecourts for light hydrogen-powered vehicles such as the Toyota Mirai that some taxi companies like Green Tomatoes already use. Hydrogen is also suitable beyond cars and some of our members are looking at ways to help support the uptake of hydrogen in heavier vehicles. This means working with hydrogen bunkering solutions at ports to refuel hydrogen-powered shipping or delivering to the agriculture sector for their bespoke vehicles.

“With low carbon fuels and hydrogen being deployed in ever-increasing volumes for the transport sector, the UK has a unique opportunity to be a global leader, benefiting both the environment, and the economy.”

Read Stephen’s previous blog post on the role for people in a just energy transition.