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).
They worked on this project: