“Aggressive targets require aggressive innovation,” observed Chris Gearhart, director of Transportation & Hydrogen Systems Center at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in a recent report.
Gearhart recently conducted a review of relevant literature that would help the US achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050, as mandated by the White House.
He further identified that one of the major sources of these emissions is light duty vehicles (LDVs), which currently account for 63% of petroleum use and 61% of emissions in the country.
To curb the pollutants emitted by this class of vehicles, he said that the government must explore alternatives that make use of biofuels, among others, which have low level greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, this crucial class needs to adopt fully electric and hydrogen fuel technologies to eventually meet the 2050 target.
Vehicle connectivity and automation are likewise expected to play a role in the dramatic reduction of pollutants. The report emphasizes that reducing the distances traveled by LDVs will require the efficient used and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the market. Reducing distances, known as vehicle-kilometers traveled, is expected to have a positive impact on the environment as well.
"A whole-system approach, including the full spectrum of LDV technologies, will be crucial to meeting those 2050 goals," Gearhart concluded.