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Road Transport

Road transport was responsible for around 23% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2007 and passenger cars alone are responsible for 12% of the UK's total CO2 emissions and as such reductions that can be made from this sector will be a significant contribution to the whole climate change mitigation effort. Transport emissions could also become even more significant as other sectors are decarbonised and transport is therefore a vital sector requiring the implementation of low carbon technologies.

The E.U. mandatory emissions legislation (130g/km limit on average CO2 for all new cars sold by 2015, phased in proportionally from 2012) has caused manufacturers to act swiftly to reduce vehicle emissions, with many meeting their targets early. Increasing the share of diesel vehicles has helped manufacturers achieve these targets as diesels tend to be more efficient, as has engine downsizing, in the real world however, new diesels have been performing poorly with respect to reduction of particulate emissions as their emissions are above the Euro standard test cycle levels for particulate emissions. Therefore, reducing CO2 may come at a cost of increasing particulate emissions. In the business sector, company car tax has become emissions based and as such company car fleets are achieving faster CO2 reductions than private sales.

The DTC and Road Transport

The DTC covers multiple aspects of road transport emissions reduction including policy, I.C.T. use, ethics, fuel use and fuel cells. Studies include identifying parameters that effect fuel consumption, ways of measuring fuel consumption (chassis dynamometer, remote sensing, on board sensing), ways of modelling fuel consumption, building a model that will allow accurate calculation of fuel consumption for a variety of car designs and driving styles/ locations and enhancing micro-scale emissions modelling of traffic networks.

Policy considerations include the identification that price (running costs) is still the most important factor in consumer decision making when buying a car and environmental decisions are of low priority. There is therefore a need to align price signals with low CO2 cars/technology.

Work into Fuel cells looks at comparing modelled findings to experimental data to seek to increase cell efficiency through using a QSAR (quantitative structure-activity relationship) method. While work is still in the early stages it is hoped that a number of viable alternative catalysts will be developed.