Need for sustainable transportation
The global urban population growth rate averages 2 percent annually (compared to an annual rural growth rate of 0.3 percent), and the number of megacities - those with populations in excess of 10 million people - has quadrupled in the past two decades. These trends are expected to continue, dominated by demographic shifts in the developing world. The United Nations predicts that more than 80 percent of population growth in the next ten years will occur in the urban areas of developing countries.
These trends are placing an enormous strain on transport and mobility in urban areas. The transport sector, according to the World Resources Institute (2005), accounts for 24.1% of CO2 emissions worldwide. It is also estimated that the road congestion already costs Asian economies an estimated 2%–5% of GDP every year due to lost time and increased transport costs.
Hence the only major prerequisite for both economic growth and human welfare in all urban areas is sustainable transport: the development of clean, safe, reliable, and affordable systems for delivering goods and moving people.
A sustainable transportation system is that which:
- Allows the basic access needs of individuals and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations.
- Is affordable, operates efficiently, offers choice of transport mode, and supports a vibrant economy.
- Limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them, minimizes consumption of non -renewable resources, limits consumption of renewable resources to the sustainable yield level, reuses and recycles its components, and minimizes the use of land and the production of noise.
Logically, there are two ways of using technology to reduce fossil fuel use and thus CO2 emissions.
- One is to use fuel that contains no or less carbon from fossil fuels.
- The other is to use fuels more efficiently.
Technological improvements that could contribute to reductions in fossil fuel use by transport can be done in terms of
- Battery-electric vehicles
- Fuel cells
- Hybrid electric-ICE vehicles
- ICE vehicles.
Developing countries can take a key role in the development of EV's, by establishing a whole new class of vehicles for domestic sale and export, designed appropriately for our dwindling global oil supplies and designed to be successful in developing markets where ordinary new cars are very expensive (as is true in much of Latin America), or do not yet exist in quantity (China/India), according to a source.
According to New York Times (2010), the global market for electric bikes has blown up the last decade. The boom has been spurred by China where the number of electric bikes has skyrocketed from a few thousand in the 1990s to 120 million.
The growth of the electric bike has also found its way into Europe in 2010, in The Netherlands where nearly one-third of the money spent on bicycles went to purchasing electric bikes. Growth in United States has been much more muted–only 250,000 sales last year–but interest is on the rise. With burgeoning markets across the world, the electric bicycle has turned into an US$11 billion industry.
An estimate provided by the Electrification Coalition predicts that development of the automotive cleantech industry in the U.S. could produce a total of 1.9 million new jobs by 2030, mostly in the manufacturing sector. The creation of jobs would be immediate: they predict 227,000 in 2010, 700,000 in 2015 and almost 900,000 in 2020. Most importantly, these new jobs would be a permanent part of a continuously developing industry.
One of the other advanced technologies for sustainable transportation is the advent of Neighborhood Electric Vehicle. Ex., Human cars.
There are at least four transport fuels that can serve as alternatives to petroleum liquids:
- Natural gas.
The main candidate fuels include ethanol and methanol (wood alcohol). Both can be produced in ways that their use results in no net emissions of GHGs; as well as much lower emissions of local pollutants compared with conventional fuels.
The importance of biofuel and biodiesel has been considered for nearly 3 decades, but has seen much more attention since 2006. Several countries have put plans in place to convert fuel use to bio-alternatives within the next few years.
Interest in biofuels is escalating worldwide for a variety of reasons, including concerns about energy security, rising petroleum prices, and climate change, and the opportunity to increase and diversify agricultural and export income.
Due to expectations of market growth, new companies are forming to focus on specific steps in the production and distribution process—i.e., feedstock production, conversion technology, or marketing. In addition, existing companies with expertise in specific steps are exploring partnerships.
Corn-to-ethanol is the predominant commercial biomass-based transportation-fuel pathway in the United States today. This pathway involves fermenting starch derived sugars from corn kernels, using natural gas for the energy needed in the conversion process, producing ethanol, and transporting the ethanol to retailers using infrastructure separate from gasoline pipelines. The separate infrastructure is needed because current pipelines are not designed to carry gasoline-ethanol mixes due to the propensity of ethanol to absorb contaminants and water.
The estimated cost of the Brazilian biofuel is $0.85 to $1.40 per gge (IEA, 2004; Fagundes de Almeida, et al., 2007). This makes Brazil’s product at least 30 percent less expensive than U.S. ethanol from cornstarch. However, the United States—along with Australia and countries in the European Union—imposes tariffs or import duties that reduce the competitiveness of imported biofuels.
How much of this biomass might realistically be converted into transportation fuels depends on the costs of these cellulosic feedstocks, as well as on: efficiencies of the conversion processes; other production costs; and prices of competing transportation fuel options, including electric- and hydrogen powered vehicles and biofuels from algae should they be commercially available by 2050.
Natural gas can play a significant role in cutting vehicle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. On average, a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2‐eq) emissions can be expected on a well‐to‐wheel (WTW) basis when replacing gasoline by light‐duty vehicles (LDVs) running on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Although in the past decade the worldwide market for use of natural gas in vehicles has developed stronger than ever before, this technology remains a niche market as the current share of natural gas in road transportation is still very limited in all but a few countries. The countries with the highest level of market development are Argentina, Brazil, India, Iran and Pakistan.
While retrofit is still applied, especially outside Europe, there is a general tendency towards original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles and more OEM models have become available
over the past years, although the availability varies for different types of vehicles on a country‐ to‐country or regional basis. The equipment to build fuel stations for NGVs is widely available and technology continues to improve. Europe is currently seeing an increasing number of projects aimed specifically at the production of biomethane and its use in vehicles
It has been specified that India could become the world’s largest NGV market if it can manage the policy and substantial investment challenges for grid development, fuel price (de)regulation and enforcement of quality and safety regulations. IEA forecasts India as one of the fastest growing gas markets worldwide with an annual increase of 5.4% over 2007‐2030,reaching 132 bcm by 2030 (WEO 2009, Reference Scenario).
The car market in India is dominated by aftermarket conversion as the car industry has only very recently begun to show interest in producing OEM cars on CNG due to the price differential creating a market pull effect. Large trucks on CNG (or LNG) are currently not very common in India, neither through aftermarket conversion nor from OEM.
Brazil’s remarkable average annual growth of almost 60% in number of NGV during the past decade has recently slowed down due to competition from ethanol flex‐fuel vehicles and supply
constraints. On the latter point, new gas discoveries/developments will lead to a marked improvement of the demand‐supply situation. It has been estimated that the NGVs represent almost 5% of total vehicle stock in Brazil, 4% of total road fuel consumption and 10% of natural gas demand. With just over 1.6 million NGVs, Brazil is at the fourth position worldwide and third in terms of refuelling stations.
Some countries will need to invest heavily in vehicles, retail infrastructure, and transmission and distribution grids to accomplish the projected growth. While investments in vehicles and retail infrastructure can generate positive returns in many cases, temporary government support may be required to establish a market, as many countries are unlikely to achieve self‐sustaining NGV markets with substantial penetration levels without it.
Hydrogen is the most talked about as a possible transport fuel, sometimes as a fuel for combustion in internal combustion and other engines but more often as fuel for fuel cells. The challenges for hydrogen use lie in achieving sustainable production of elemental hydrogen, and at least as much in its distribution and storage. Hydrogen economy needs to travel into many transitional phases such as technology development, initial market penetration, infrastructure investment and finally into a fully developed phase and now has been in the first phase only.
Business opportunities exists in every stage of hydrogen economy such as
Production – in hydrogen production and hydro gasification in refineries etc.,
Storage-for providing provisions to compress hydrogen and in liquefying for bulk storage
Delivery – in Delivery of hydrogen via pipelines
Conversion- in Operational maintenance and services in Hydrogen fuelled turbines, ICE s or fuel cells in electricity production
End use- Distributional and operational services in fuelling stations
The prospects for widespread use of hydrogen as a transport fuel during the next few decades seem quite remote.
General Opportunities for New and Enhanced Sustainable Transport Operations
Focus of Lending Operations
Scale up operations, model projects
Addressing climate change
in transport shortening
Model projects for mode shifting and distance
Cross-border transport and logistics
More effective transport facilitation within
planned and existing operations
Road safety and social sustainability
Scale up operations, model projects, best
Limitations to complete conversion to these renewable, carbon-free sources are not so much the potentially available energy supply but the energy and financial costs of supplying the generating equipment and associated infrastructure, and the difficulties in providing reliable continuous power outputs from highly variable inputs.
Meeting these challenges within a reasonable time frame, say by 2030 or even 2050, may be unrealistic.“The solution” for keeping up international, national, regional, and local interactions while fostering sustainable development has yet to be found; no strategy for sustainable transportation systems agreed to by all stakeholders across countries so far exists.