From the Mims report, technologies and proposals for decarbonisation of transport

“The electrification of vehicles implies a significant reduction in emissions with a limited implementation of new renewable energy. Suffice it to say that already with the current energy mix, the replacement of combustion vehicles with electric vehicles would entail for Italy 50% reduction of emissions from light road transport “. This is one of the messages in the report “The decarbonization of transport. Scientific evidence and policy proposals “, presented on 22 April by Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility (Mims).

Goal. The document, prepared by the Ecological Transition Structure of Mobility and Infrastructure (STEMI), addresses the key issue of selecting the best transport technologies for decarbonisation with the aim of outline the steps that will lead to a reduction in polluting emissions in the sector in the coming years.

The report intends provide a solid knowledge base to enable the competent ministries to develop effective actions and policies to achieve the general objectives of reducing emissions. Furthermore, the study is part of the international framework that contributes to the achievement ofUN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and al European legislative process Fits 55which provides for a 55% reduction in climate change emissions by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement signed in 2015. In fact, the analysis reported in the document addresses the issue of mobility, the technological and non-technological choices needed to achieve the emission targets set and their articulation proposed in the FF55 package “.

Transport, a key sector in the emission reduction strategy. The publication of the report took place at a critical time, when the transport sector must necessarily transform itself in order to comply with the objectives and rules set by the EU, as it is responsible for a large part of the climate change emissions produced in our country. Yes, air pollution from vehicle exhaust powered by fossil fuels (cars, planes and ships) represented in 2019 25.2% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 30.7% of total CO2 emissions. Furthermore, 92.6% of these emissions were related to road transport.

In addition, it was found that from 1990 to today, the total greenhouse gas emissions in our country have fallen by 19%, but the transport sector is one of the few that has registered an increase in the amount of pollutant particles that are dispersed to the environment. (+ 3.2% compared to 1990). To decarbonise the transport sector, Stemi emphasizes in the report need to integrate all “new low or zero emission technologies” to be able to seize any growth opportunity associated with this transition and prepare to face the potential risks associated with it.

Technological priorities. “Electrification is generally the most promising technological option for several sectors, but not all.” Electric cars offer greater benefits for passenger transport by road (private cars, taxis, local buses) as well as for freight transport by vans in the city.

The use of non-electric renewable energy sources, on the other hand, becomes advantageous in cases where electrification is impossible to use. These are mainly vehicles that cannot remain connected to an electricity grid by their nature, ie ships and aircraft. For ships, the use of batteries over short distances proves to be a good solution, but this benefit does not exist over long distances. On the other hand, even for aircraft, “electrification is not a workable strategy”, but it is hoped that research will lead to making the use of battery-powered aircraft competitive over short distances. Instead of using electricity, the use of second-generation biofuels seems to be very appropriate, as they “offer technically valid solutions, also in relation to the total limited consumption compared to road transport”.

Areas of focus for the transformation of mobility. The document sets out five main action points around which the emission reduction strategy is to be built:

  1. improve sustainable transport systems as an alternative to road transport and manage the demand and structure of mobility;
  2. improve energy efficiency and decarbonize vehicles;
  3. decarbonize energy carriers and fuels;
  4. reduce the emissions required for the production of vehicles;
  5. reduce the emissions needed to build infrastructure.

Based on these points, the document highlights how their implementation will only be possible if our country succeeds fill in “deficits and structural distortions” affecting the national transport system. For example, Italy is among the European countries with more cars per capita. per capita (only Luxembourg has a higher ratio than ours), our road and rail infrastructure system is very unevenly distributed over the national territory, and road transport dominates far above other less polluting means.

In this framework is The National Recovery and Resilience Plan is an important option to launch a “profound reform of the mobility system towards environmental sustainability and social equality”. The Pnrr projects in the field of transport will therefore be aimed at increasing the share of local public transport and its decarbonisation, reducing the demand for polluting transport, facilitating the spread of electric cars and increasing the share of passengers in the railway sector to the detriment of use. of cars and planes.

by Milos Skakal

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