CLUSTER 5: Gas and Fuel for Transport

Background

The transport sector is one of the most challenging to decarbonise due to the relatively limited options and high cost of those available options. Apart from improving efficiency, a less carbon-intensive fuel mix is needed. In the mid- to long-term, to achieve deep decarbonisation, the road transport and rail sectors should move towards electrification or hydrogen, biofuels solutions should be reserved for heavy duty trucks as well as the aviation and shipping sectors. The aviation sector in particular currently has very few alternatives. It is responsible for 2.6% of EU GHG emissions and 13% of EU transport emissions and the transport sector as a whole is one of the fastest growing. Due to an increasing power supply from renewables power to heat, power to product and power to gas will become an economic viable option in the long-term. Decarbonisation of transport in this regard would require power to gas and then production of hydrogen and subsequently methane or ethanol to get a transport fuel.

Issues

Increasing electrification of road vehicles, and in the longer term a possible move to hydrogen fuelled vehicles, require significant changes to fuelling / charging infrastructure, changes in consumer purchases and significantly also advances in battery technology to drive down cost and weight and increase lifespan and range. Aviation has few options beyond biofuels. Technically, several types of biofuel and renewable fuel for aviation have by now been developed. Since 2008, five types of renewable fuels have been officially approved by ASTM for use in aviation, and commercial airlines have performed flights using biojet fuel. Currently the main barrier to the uptake of biojet fuels is price, as such fuels typically cost about three times more than conventional jet fuels. In addition, further policy intervention is needed, from regulatory measures such as a specific mandate for aviation biofuels, to softer instruments like stimulating innovations and projects in the supply chain. Finally, deep carbon emission reduction in the long run requires the use of advanced bio-kerosene in aviation as a fuel fungible to mineral oil kerosene. Advanced bio-kerosene is needed to ensure sustainability related to land use and biomass feedstock.

Related Advanced Studies

The role of Gas DSOs and distribution networks in the context of the energy transition

Sectorial integration long-term perspective in the EU energy system

DISCLAIMER

“The study is carried out for the European Commission and expresses the opinion of the organisation having undertaken them. To this end, it does not reflect the views of the European Commission, TSOs, project promoters and other stakeholders involved. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information given in the study, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.”