According to the International Energy Agency, the transport sector was accountable for 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. With the climate emergency and the alarming reports of the IPCC, it is time for the companies of the sector to adapt.
Of course, mankind has always been able to capitalize on its technological innovations to move forward. It is therefore through innovation once again that humanity hopes to free itself from polluting vehicles.
This is at least the objective of Neoline, which has developed a technology for merchant ships with wind power propulsion, based on the same principles as sailboats.
A first 136 m prototype ought to be operational by 2024 and should already guarantee 80 to 90% fuel savings without giving up on transport efficiency. If successful, this project could truly revolutionize global maritime transport and allow a drastic reduction in the sector’s GHG emissions.
While waiting for a revolution in means of transport, progress can be made for their fuels. While no miracle solution is currently being used by manufacturers, alternative fuels such as LNG or LPG are already being used by some companies and public authorities, but their benefits remain limited.
In addition, other promising energies are being studied. It is the case, for instance, of hydrogen engines, which are practically non-polluting but still suffering from a storage issue. It is also true with ethanol, which is inexhaustible, inexpensive, and up to 90% less polluting, but whose extraction is in competition with the food industry.
In short, environmentally friendly fuels exist, but they must now be effectively implemented into vehicles and on the market.
However, companies do not have to talk in future tense when it comes to environmental actions. Some companies have already opted for eco-driving training for their employees, which on average leads to a 10% saving in fuel consumption, thus providing economic, ecological and safety benefits. Global logistics optimization also helps to reduce fossil fuel consumption by avoiding empty runs, for example.
In short, engineers, logisticians and managers all have a role to play in greening the transport sector without giving up on profit optimization for all that.