Taking Carbon out of transport

In committing to a legally binding obligation to net zero emissions by 2050, the UK continues to be a world-leader on climate change.  What does this mean for emissions from the transport sector?

Aviation emissions are hard to reduce and the Climate Change Committee is still forecasting air transport emissions in 2050 (see below).  But for land transport it means zero emissions, and this means 100% electric.

Electric cars can run on batteries or hydrogen.  Look out for a later blog on hydrogen, but for now, the dominant technology is batteries charged from the grid (and you also need electricity to make fossil-free hydrogen).  Power generation in the UK still relies on fossil fuels, but less and less so.  Coal is the most greenhouse gas-intensive form of power generation, followed by gas, which is about 40% less greenhouse gas intensive.  Nuclear and renewables emit no greenhouse gasses.

Year-on-year, coal has been gradually squeezed out of the UK electricity supply mix, and headlines saying “X days of coal-free power” are becoming increasingly common, particularly in the summer.  This month for example, the UK ran for 18 days with no coal at all – read more HERE.

Renewable energy is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation, and it is a mixture of politics and grid system stability that keeps it from claiming a larger slice.  Tackling grid stability requires behavioural change and storage. In the main, storage means batteries: grid infrastructure batteries (in the longer-term, probably different types from the ones in your EV) and EVs themselves can be part of the solution.  Grid-scale energy storage is now a hot topic, and a major R&D project is taking place just down the road from Electrogenic, with the installation of 50MW of storage capacity at Cowley  – Read More.

So the UK is making serious progress towards zero emissions, but the electricity component requires some serious R&D.  Of course, you can always short-cut all the waiting, by buying only electricity generated from renewable energy, and buying an Electrogenic R-EV!

Ask Electrogenic

There are lots of possibilities for explanatory future blogs in the above: hydrogen vs batteries, politics and costs of renewable energy, future energy scenarios, energy storage, behavioural change…and maybe others we have not thought of. Twice a month Electrogenic will write a blog on the top two questions trending on @electrogenicrev.

So if you have any questions get tweeting and Ask Electrogenic!