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Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Roadmap to Net-Zero webinar (a summary) 10.02.2021

By February 11, 2021 No Comments

The opening comments for the APC Roadmap Reports webinar, were given by the keynote speaker Professor Neville Jackson, Chair of the Automotive Council R&D Workstream.

Professor Jackson opened the APC webinar with a recognition of the work which the UK Automotive Council & the Advanced Propulsion Centre have undertaken in the production of the UK Roadmap’s to Net-Zero.

With the first Roadmaps having been produced in 2009, the Roadmap’s to Net-Zero should “show the most likely pathway to a future state or requirement” said Professor Jackson. However, he also acknowledged that the Roadmap’s predictions were always going to be based on current knowledge & therefore would not necessarily be relevant in the future, they have a “shelf life” (1)

However, at their core the Roadmap’s scan the horizon & can help identify disruption & potential impacts of the future technologies.

On the topic of Thermal Propulsion Systems, Steve Sapsford Managing Director, SCE, questioned how the already 30 million vehicles on the UK roads & 300 million EU vehicles could not adapt to using sustainable fuels as a way to reduce GHG & CO2 emissions. This is a vast fleet of vehicles to try & replace in a very short space of time & it is, in his words “Unreasonable that EV & BEV should shoulder the responsibility of net-zero”

Steve Sapsford explored the use of what is now being called ‘drop in’ fuels which are predominantly biofuels which can be added to existing fossil-based fuels. Over time the ratios could be increased & the ICE could be adapted to run on a blended liquid fuel & still reduce emissions.

The Roadmap’s have in their latest incarnation been updated from the previous releases, to recognise & incorporate a Heavy Goods >3.5t & Off-highway Vehicle Roadmap as opposed to the previous Commercial & Off-Highway Vehicle Roadmap (2017) (2)

Following on from the discussions at the Sustainable ICE Virtual Event last week, the Roadmap’s recognise that Long Range & Off-Highway vehicles ‘The new Automotive Council roadmaps for 2020 appreciate that different vehicle applications will require different powertrain solutions based on their energy and power demands.’ (2)

Therefore & with this in mind, the Roadmap for Heavy Goods >3.5t & Off-highway Vehicle recognises that due to the nature of these vehicles, fuelling solutions are not as easy as the BEV market vehicles.

Herewith is a snapshot of the report & some of the considerations for a Net-Zero future for the Heavy Goods >3.5t & Off-highway Vehicle

New ICE architecture energy sources

In addition to blended and low-carbon fuels, significant gain with zero-carbon fuels like, hydrogen are promising for long range vehicles. Hydrogen combustion engines

with, suitable aftertreatment for NOx management, can provide a cost-effective net-zero emissions solution for many heavy duty and off-highway vehicles in this category. (2)

Fuel cell energy sources

Hydrogen fuel cells require low carbon sources i.e., blue hydrogen (from natural gas with CCS) or green (from renewable electricity). Solid oxide fuel cells can operate on existing commercial fuels, e.g., blended bio-fuels, and at high fuel efficiencies. (2)

Despite the obvious needs of adapting & adopting new fuelling infrastructures as part of the drive to Net Zero, the possibilities of vehicle type & performance have also been considered in the latest Roadmap with specific application-tailored technologies will vary from region to region. Here is an overview of the Roadmap vehicular options for a Net Zero Heavy Goods >3.5t and Off-highway future.

Long Range Conventional ICE

Lower emission ICE are evolving, using blended and lower carbon fuel. Fuels with low or zero carbon content, including hydrogen, are already being considered. (2)

Long range New ICE

ICEs & liquid fuels are attractive for OEMs in these applications, and more advanced high-efficiency ICE architectures are expected in the medium term. (2)

Long Range Hybrids

Suited to vehicles with frequent stop/start allowing energy recovery. Systems are expected to evolve towards dedicated hybrid designs similar to LDVs, allowing some zero-emission running for restricted zone use. (2)

Long Range BEV

In some settings batteries will apply, but the tradeoff between battery weight, vehicle fee-earning payload and recharging infrastructure needs makes this less likely as a widespread solution. (2)

Long Range Fuel Cell

Fuel cell vehicles and equipment can achieve a higher onboard energy than batteries

for a given weight, so for high utilisation applications where very low emissions are

required, they can compete with BEV. However, hydrogen fuelling will be required to suit

operating patterns.

CO2 emissions & the damage they have caused are the key reason why the infrastructure, design & manufacture of future ICE’s & BEV’s has to change & with this in mind, the Roadmap addresses thus:

CO₂e Emissions

Heavy duty vehicle OEMs faced EU tailpipe CO₂ regulation from 2019 (for the first time), defining stricter targets in 2025 and 2030.

These include a super-credits system for early action ZEVs to offset high CO₂ emitting vehicles. VECTO is the new simulation tool for HDVs developed by the European Commission to calculate CO₂ emissions and fuel consumption. (2)

The closing section of the Roadmap to Net-Zero webinar was given over to a brief Q&A & the leading question having been posed was regarding Life Cycle Analysis in relation to BEV manufacturing & how this could incorporate a net zero approach.

The following extracts (paraphrased) are from some of the panels response’s:

Alan Banks -Lightweight Innovations Manager, Ford “If in the production of a BEV  there is more CO2 generated in the manufacturing & after life of the vehicle (recycling), then it has failed to achieve it’s goal of net zero”

Steve Sapsford – Managing Director, SCE “Life cycle analysis is critical to balancing manufacture from raw materials, through to recycling. We must move away from the tank to wheel scenario & accept that just because we cannot see emissions, doesn’t mean they are not there”

Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2