Alternative fuels for fleet vehicles
Alternative fuels are gaining popularity, especially in the context of growing environmental awareness and the fight against greenhouse gas emissions. Crude oil as the main fuel is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Switching to green fuels in fleet vehicles may contribute to a significant popularization of eco-friendly solutions in transport. Are alternative fuels the inevitable future of the transport industry?
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Transport and greenhouse gas emissions
According to the “Green transport. Current status and prospects” report, the transport sector is responsible for approximately 20-25% of global CO2 emissions. If we include all the processes that accompany transport, this share increases to 37%. Therefore, alternative fuels are becoming more and more desired by individual and fleet customers.
For several years now, we have been witnessing a real technological revolution in this area. Sustainable and responsible transport is no longer a vision of the future, but is slowly becoming a reality in which we live. Choosing natural fuels is an important step towards reducing emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere and achieving zero emissions in the future. Fleet vehicles, due to their number and intensity of use, are playing a key role in this transition.
Types of alternative fuels
- electricity – the main direction in which the automotive industry is heading, especially popular in urban areas with easy access to charging
- biodiesel and renewable diesel – produced from organic waste, e.g. used oil from restaurants and food outlets
- natural gas (CNG and LNG) – increasingly used in heavy transport
- hydrogen – a clean energy source with enormous potential
- sulphur-free fuels – produce lower CO2 emissions than conventional fuels
Work on the development of environmentally friendly technologies continues every day. This issue raises a lot of controversy, especially as pertains to electricity. On the one hand, electric vehicles have zero emissions. On the other hand, electricity in many countries (including Poland) is produced in a way that is questionable in terms of eco-friendliness. Major controversy also stems from the nature of battery production and their subsequent disposal.
Act on electromobility and alternative fuels
Polish law is adapting to European environmental directives and standards. The Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels of January 11, 2018 created a framework for the development of infrastructure for charging electric vehicles and fuelling cars powered by alternative fuels. The EU guidelines are clear: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting alternative fuels.
Imposing certain legal restrictions on car manufacturers and local governments contributes to the development of green transport technologies and accelerates their implementation. In accordance with the applicable provisions of the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels, local governments are required to include electric vehicles in their fleets. From 2025, electric vehicles will have to constitute at least 30% of public entity vehicles.
Advantages of using alternative fuels in transport
Alternative fuels offer many benefits for the environment and businesses. The most frequently mentioned advantages include:
- savings – alternative fuels are cheaper than gasoline and crude oil
- independence – natural fuels can be produced locally, without a refinery
- efficiency – electric cars offer better performance, or more precisely, instant maximum torque
- marketing value – companies using environmentally-friendly vehicles are considered progressive
- improving air quality
- additional financing available through government subsidy programs
Investment in natural fuels and their development can lead to better price stability on the market and independence from foreign companies and other countries.
Is hydrogen the future of transport and the automotive industry?
Hydrogen is the most common chemical element in the Universe. It holds enormous energy potential and may prove to be the key to zero-emission automobiles. Hydrogen is environmentally friendly and can be produced locally. So far, Toyota has done the best job at developing its technologies in terms of fuel cells and reverse water electrolysis. Nevertheless, the current stage of development can hardly be considered as achieving the intended goal.
It is unclear whether hydrogen will be able to meet the set expectations. There are also other disadvantages, such as extended fuelling time or lack of access to hydrogen fuelling stations in Poland. Moreover, such stations require electricity to function. As such, it might be worth focusing on the development of electric drives.
Summary: alternative fuels in transport
The transport industry and the entire automotive market face many challenges in reducing CO2 emissions. Alternative fuels seem to be the rational answer to these challenges. Switching to natural fuels will become a legal requirement in the near future. It’s up to you whether you want to contribute to the development of eco-friendly transport. Government and EU subsidies can significantly reduce the costs of investing in new technologies.