Photo: Courtesy of Shell

Shell and Deloitte study tips hydrogen as long term road freight fuel

The joint study indicates the road freight sector is close to a tipping point to decarbonise faster than expected, with hydrogen fuel as the most viable technology.

Shell's and Deloitte's study on decarbonising the road freight sector
Courtesy of Shell

The “Decarbonising Road Freight: Getting into Gear” study shows a detailed ten-year roadmap with 22 solutions aimed at addressing the economic, technical, regulatory and organisational factors influencing the sector’s ability to decarbonise.

The report is based on the views of road freight executives and experts from around the world. More than 70 per cent of the 158 interviewees consider decarbonisation as the leading or top three priority for their organisation.

The study participants view hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles as the most viable long term zero-emission heavy duty truck technology, and many believe these trucks will become commercially viable in the next five to ten years.

Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director at Shell sadi: “Road freight is currently responsible for around 9 per cent of global CO2 emissions and with demand for road freight services set to double by 2050, urgent action must be taken now to put the sector on a pathway to net zero emissions by then. Fleet companies, truck manufacturers and energy providers have already started investing in low and zero emission solutions, but the sector requires a more robust set of policies and regulations to accelerate change”.

One of the key highlights from the industry perspectives report is that low emission fuels such as LNG, bioLNG, compressed natural gas and biodiesel should be commercialised quickly around existing points of supply, but not where they could disrupt the deployment of zero-emission solutions.

Immediate emission reductions can be achieved for fleets with diesel powered trucks by improving truck design, employing digital solutions to optimise fleet management and using higher quality fuels and lubricants.

Carlos Maurer, executive vice president of sectors and decarbonisation at Shell commented: “We believe that once produced at scale, hydrogen will likely be the more cost-effective and viable pathway to net zero emissions for heavy duty and long-route medium duty vehicles, and electric mobility will do the same for light duty and short-route medium duty vehicles. Shell has already begun taking steps to make these energy solutions available to customers and we are partnering with others to expand these efforts”.

Shell also released the report named “Decarbonising Road Freight: Shell’s Route Ahead”, which outlines Shell’s role in helping the sector decarbonise. It shows Shell’s climate ambition and plans to reduce the emissions intensity of its fleet of close to 3,000 contracted road haulage tankers by 10 per cent by 2025 and by 30 per cent by 2030, both compared to 2018 figures.