Batteries, Hydrogen to Accelerate Decarbonization in Transportation

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Moderated by Artem Abramov, Rystad Partner, Head of Clean Tech; the panel included Minh Khoi Le, Vice President of Rystad Hydrogen Research and Abhishek Murali, Rystad Analyst, Electric Vehicles and E-Mobility.

The speakers highlighted that the transportation sector plays a significant role in global emissions, making it imperative to accelerate the process of decarbonization in order to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris agreement by 2050.

Artem Abramov delivered a presentation highlighting the significant role of the transportation sector in global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. He stated that it is imperative that a concerted global effort be made to lower global carbon emissions.

“We have a climate emergency that we need to address. We were emitting 38.2 gigatons of CO2 emissions in 2022, which was record high level. The transportation sector is the third largest direct contributor to global emissions,” he noted.

Abramov emphasized the need to reduce emissions by two gigatons annually to comply with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree performance target.

He suggested that there was a focus on transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards more sustainable options such as electric vehicles powered by renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. By doing so, the transportation sector can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change.

During a presentation titled ‘Road transport – electric vehicles (EVs) spearheading the transition’ Abhishek Murali highlighted key points.

“In 2022 the EV market share was 14.2% with China leading the global EV market,” he said, adding that, “Europe has also seen significant growth due to the push in decarbonizing road transport.”

Murali explained that battery electric vehicles dominate over Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, with China having the most public charging infrastructure. “There is a real problem that the pace of charging infrastructure will not keep up with the demand for EVs,” he said, adding, “Most stations are slow charging which will create a bottleneck, which will stall the EV adoption.”

According to Murali, diesel power trucks are more commonly used than battery-powered trucks due to the high operating cost of the latter. He further noted that charging time was needed for battery-powered trucks, which is a significant factor as it leads to time loss and additional expenses, which accumulate quickly.

Meanwhile, he asserted that the high cost of EVs was a major hurdle for their adoption, particularly for the middle and lower classes. To make EVs more accessible to these groups, the cost needs to decrease. He noted that one solution to this challenge was to decrease the prices of raw materials, such as lithium and cobalt that are used to manufacture batteries for EVs. However, he pointed out that there was a shortage of mines and processing facilities for these materials, so the development of more of these facilities would help to bridge the gap between supply and demand.

The session moved on to discuss ‘Hydrogen as a critical driver of sustainable sea and air transportation’ presented by Minh Khoi Le.

“Hydrogen is a crucial driver of sustainable sea and air transportation; however, this is a lot more complicated for shipping and aviation. The shipping sector is not using any other lowering fuels,” stated Khoi Le.

He said that the use of lower fuels was necessary to achieve Net-Zero and mentioned that Methanol and Ammonia will play a vital role in decarbonizing the sector. Additionally, he added that Hydrogen will also be crucial, as it is needed in the processing of methanol and ammonia.

On the aviation front Khoi Le added that decarbonizing the aviation sector poses even more significant challenges due to the crucial safety measures that must be considered. Unlike other modes of transportation, aviation kerosene is the primary fuel used in planes, making it harder to switch to sustainable alternatives. While sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) such as hydrogen will be a key factor in achieving decarbonization, it may only be practical for short to medium-haul flights.

“The pathway to SAF will require hydrogen as feedback,” he concluded.

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Onur Yilmaz

Onur Yilmaz

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