As technologies develop, more and more alternatives to diesel buses become available for use in urban and rural areas.
The main purpose of these alternatives is to reduce emissions, in particular of greenhouse gases. From a climate perspective however, not all of these alternatives are equally good, and for local authorities looking at reducing their emissions, comparing different bus solutions can be a difficult exercise.
The carbon footprint of bus transport varies depending on the type of energy used and the bus equipment necessary to use this energy.
In order to compare the available alternatives on a fair basis, it is important to consider the entire life cycle of buses, from when they are produced, to their use and their disposal. This also includes the production of energy, for which footprint can widely vary depending on the local electricity mix.
Endrava performed an analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions and costs associated with the use of different technologies for low-emission buses, on behalf of Biogas Norway, OREEC, VEAS and AirLiquide. The report concludes that seen from a life-cycle perspective, battery-electric, hydrogen, biogas and biofuels buses have similar emission reductions. In particular cases, the use of biogas can achieve GHG emission reductions of over 100%. In Norway, the biogas technology currently has one of the lowest costs per tonne CO2e reduced, lower than with electrical or hydrogen buses.
The use of biogas also provides additional sustainability benefits, especially within circular economy, waste management and agriculture. We mapped these benefits along the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Carbon dioxide emissions are, unfortunately, present virtually everywhere in the world. Finding sources of CO2 emissions large enough to be captured and stored is however a more challenging task.
Large power plants, industrial sites and waste incineration plants are typically good candidates for CO2 capture and storage, since they emit large quantities of CO2 at fixed locations. In 2017 there were ca. 2000 of these plants in Europe, each emitting more than 100 000 tonnes CO2 per year.
Endrava mapped each of the plants in our data-analysis tool, captureMap. The Norwegian oil and gas association supported the initial development of the tool.
CaptureMap shows that large sites emitted 1 644 million tonnes CO2 in 2017, which is 38% of the European GHG emissions. Of these, our estimations show that 1 337 million tonnes CO2 could be captured, from ca. 1 800 large emission sites in Europe. This represent about one third of all the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe in 2017.
Our tool allows finding candidates for piloting and scaling-up carbon capture in Europe, and is already successfully used by the Northern Lights project for this purpose. It includes metadata about each emission site, distances to sea and to potential storage hubs, potentially important clusters of emissions, as well as an overview of coastal and innland ports in Europe.
Smøla is an island community located in the Møre & Romsdal county, north-west in Norway. Through foresight, ambition and close collaboration between public and private entities, Smøla has established itself as a pioneer in onshore wind power, and the wind farm at Smøla was Europe’s largest when it was commissioned, and the largest in Norway until 2017.
The power cable between Smøla and the mainland has effectively reached its capacity, preventing additional capacity expansions of the turbines. A new export power cable from the island to shore is considered too expensive.
Meanwhile, Smøla also aims to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from transport, of which the high speed ferry and buses constitute a significant share.
Endrava, in collaboration with Hyon and JC Gjerløw Consult, performed a techno-economic study of possible hydrogen value chain concepts, all based around the production of hydrogen from Smøla’s wind farm.
Our analysis shows that, with some reservations, hydrogen should be produced at Smøla. We base this analysis on three main reasons: From a demand perspective, significant and predictable consumers technically eligible for conversion to hydrogen exist at Smøla. From a supply perspective, the hydrogen value chain at Smøla can be made competitive. From an environmental and safety perspective, hydrogen from renewable energy is well positioned to replace diesel with corresponding strong emission reduction potential.
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