Road transport, shippers, and energy groups in Europe have called for carbon-neutral fuels to be recognized as a long-term decarbonization solution, alongside electrification and hydrogen, for a well-functioning and stable EU logistics sector.
In a joint letter sent today to EU Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, IRU, the European Shippers’ Council, and FuelsEurope – representing road transport operators, shippers, and energy suppliers – have called for the full and equal recognition of liquid carbon neutral fuels for internal combustion engines, alongside electric and hydrogen fuel cells, in proposed EU heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) CO2 regulations. Liquid fuels of non-fossil origin are progressively replacing fossil fuels.
For a well-functioning and stable EU logistics sector, road transport operators and shippers must be able to decide which technology is best suited for different kinds of operations to achieve our common goal: carbon neutrality by 2050. However, attaining this target depends on the technology options the upcoming legislation allows, which impacts vehicles and infrastructure.
IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “The vital logistics chains that supply EU citizens with food, medicine, and other essentials should not be subject to an uncertain leap into the dark which could jeopardize their stability. A CO2 standard proposal for Europe’s logistics sector should push for all options to achieve carbon neutrality. A complete move away from combustion, notwithstanding that this too can achieve the same objective, depending on what is burnt, can only be described as an unnecessary and risky experiment,” she added.
Out of the total fleet of over 6 million HDVs used to transport goods in the EU, about 2 million vehicles are used in the long-haul transport of goods. Completely switching from the 1,500km driving autonomy of a liquid fuel 40-tonne truck to an electric truck’s autonomy of 300km, with uncertain charging infrastructure and grid availability, will pose serious risks, at the very least, on some long-haul routes. The electric power required to recharge a single large truck’s battery is equivalent to the daily electricity needed to power more than 100 households.
Carbon-neutral fuels are also the most realistic option to decarbonize aviation, most maritime transport, and the existing fleet of road vehicles. The availability of sustainable biomass is more than sufficient to satisfy the demand for advanced biofuels for the three transport modes.