Data Projects

Comparing GHG emissions from personal vehicles

Our analysis of GHG emissions from personal vehicles show that electric, hydrogen and biogas cars are best for climate in Norway and Sweden.

There has been a lot of debate around the actual climate benefits of low-emission vehicles, and different studies come to different conclusions. Regional variations can explain part of these differences. We wanted to see if we could conclude on this topic for Norway and Sweden, and if our findings would be robust across vehicle sizes. To find that out, we calculated emissions from manufacturing, using and scrapping cars in both countries, taking into account variables such as fuel/energy type and origin, vehicle size and weight class.

Cars come in all shapes and sizes, so to establish a representative analysis we collected data on as many vehicles as possible, from available online databases and websites. Our dataset includes more than 7800 cars running on fossil-fuel, 6 models with hydrogen, 63 hybrid, 28 with (bio)gas, and 67 electric models.

We have data on manufacturer and model, fuel type and consumption (both theoretical (NEDC) and real), on vehicle weight and class. For low-emission vehicles we also collected specific data on technology, battery size, weight, energy density and energy efficiency.

We analysed the data and established correlations between vehicles curb-weight, battery capacity, battery weight and energy/fuel efficiency. There are of course exceptions, but most vehicles follow the same trend. For example larger electric vehicles have heavier batteries, with higher energy capacity and use more energy per kilometer.

Correlation between vehicle weight and battery weight for 32 models of electric vehicles.

We categorised the vehicles and identified low-emission equivalents for most of the conventional fossil-fuel vehicles within the six weight-classes A to F. We then combined the data on fuel use and vehicle characteristics with our data on footprint for energy and materials, to calculate the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of each car technology.

Illustration of our findings for hydrogen cars in weight-class C in Norway

This approach takes into account the differences in GHG footprint for fuels in Norway and Sweden, and differences in use of the cars. The conclusion is similar for both countries: electric, hydrogen and biogas cars are best for climate in Norway and Sweden, provided that the hydrogen is from low-emissions sources (e.g. electrolysis or reforming with CCS).

Findings for weight-class C in Sweden, across technologies and fuel types

They worked on this project:


Calculating the life-cycle emissions of trucks

Comparing different fuels for trucks only makes sense when looking at the whole life cycle of the vehicle: from manufacturing to use and disposal.

For this project we developed a model to calculate the greenhouse gas footprint of a range of drivelines for trucks over the entire life cycle of the vehicles.

Our model makes it possible to compare the climate footprint of fuels and technologies for diesel, biodiesel, biogas, battery-electric and hydrogen trucks.

Results for biodiesel and electrical trucks

The results are country-specific, since local value-chains for fuels and energy influence the climate footprint.

They worked on this project:

Eric Rambech
Valentin Vandenbussche

Which low-emission buses are best for climate?

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.

Click to download the report (in Norwegian)

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.

The different phases of the life cycle of a bus

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.

Mapping of the biogas benefits for the SDGs

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).

They worked on this project: