Transport News

Queen Elizabeth II: a Monarch, a Head of State, and an Inspiration

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

Her death was announced by Buckingham Palace at 18:30 on Thursday the 8th of September 2022, leaving her people in mourning.

At the moment of her passing, Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son ascended to the throne as King Charles III.

In a statement, His Majesty The King said “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

During her 70-year reign, the Queen represented stability and acted as a unifying figure in times of uncertainty.

Throughout her lifetime, the Queen travelled to over 100 countries, touched the lives of millions around the globe, and shared with every one of us her awe-inspiring yet restrained sense of duty.

Her true appreciation of nature, her love of horses, and calls for world leaders to go beyond “the politics of the moment” and to unite as a community of nations “with a determination, a desire and a plan to address the impact of climate change” will forever remain ingrained in the collective memory of her people and the world.

God bless Queen Elizabeth II.

May she rest in peace.

Long live The King. 

Green Mobility Policy Brief September 9th 2022

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: #FoodNotFuel protests in Brussels to encourage EU lawmakers to vote on reducing burning crops for biofuels amid climate and food security crises; EU penalties set to raise costs of fossil fuels to above the price of green alternatives; The UK Government caps bus fares to £2 from January to March 2023 across England to offset the cost of living crisis; and the HELENUS project to test the use of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) in cruise vessels to provide greener energy.

#FoodNotFuel protests in Brussels to encourage EU lawmakers to vote on reducing burning crops for biofuels amid climate and food security crises. On the 5th of September, leading NGOs Oxfam, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, and Transport and Environment (T&E) announced their plans to lead protests outside the European Parliament to encourage European lawmakers to vote to end the use of biofuels under the new Renewable Energy Directive (RED). According to a T&E report, everyday Europe burns 10,000 tonnes of wheat, the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread, into ethanol for use in cars.  While biofuel is hailed as an alternative to traditional forms of fuel, crop based biofuels release up to 3 times more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels like diesel. Additionally, the amount of crop growing space needed for biofuels globally not only contributes to deforestation, but it also exacerbates the climate and global food crises. In a European context, 5% of all Europe’s cropland is used for growing wheat destined for use in biofuels. To replace the EU’s imports of crude oil, gasoline, and diesel from Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the required cropland for growing the necessary amount of wheat would need to be doubled to 10% to replace just 6.5% of such exports. Economic Justice Expert at Oxfam, Marc-Olivier Herman has stated that while the EU advocates for food security, “It continues to promote burning food to fuel cars. This not only wreaks havoc on global food markets by pushing up food prices but also does nothing to green Europe’s transport.” – Jessica Atkinson

EU penalties set to raise costs of fossil fuels to above the price of green alternatives. A report by the EU-funded Clean Sky joint undertaking and McKinsey & Company forecasts that the price of fossil fuels as result of EU penalties will supersede the costs of Liquid Hydrogen fuel (LH2) produced in Saudi Arabia and the UAE by 2030. The current measures include a phase-out of free-carbon allowances and an expansion of the EU’s carbon market to include all flights, while proposals for a tax on the high carbon fuel Kerosene are being considered. However, the EU is also looking to scale up its domestic production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which on average produces 80% less carbon dioxide than conventional Kerosene, to compete with overseas markets. The RefuelEU law, updated in July this year, sets targets of 2% SAF use for all flights in European airports by 2025, 5% by 2030 and 63% by 2050. While these seem meagre, the director of sustainable development at Air France Vincent Etchebehere explains that 1% of SAF is 30,000 tons fewer emissions, the equivalent of “550 Paris-New York flights”. The EU’s funding programme Horizon Europe is also investing 1.7 billion Euros into the research and development of SAF’s, in addition to innovative technology and new engines, bolstered by 2.4 billion of further investment from partners. This could help reduce the production costs of SAF’s which director of sustainable development at ADP Amélie Lummaux argues cannot happen “without the establishment of a real industrial sector”. A combination of penalties, targets and investment puts the EU in a stronger position to transition to sustainable fuels in the aviation sector in future.  – Ollie Jenkins 

The UK Government caps bus fares to £2 from January to March 2023 across England to offset the cost of living crisis. The Department for Transport has announced £60 million in funding from January to March 2023 to cap bus fare to £2 across England in a bid to guarantee that bus operators can offer affordable travel to commuters amidst the rising cost of living crisis. According to the Department for Transport, average fares in England cost £2.80 for a single three-mile journey, though in rural areas of the country fares can cost up to £6. This move aims to provide savings for passengers travelling in cities up to a third on fares, while those in rural areas are set to save up to £60 a month. In line with the governments net zero goals, the cap will encourage commuters to choose greener transport for local travel and offset the decline in ridership since the pandemic, removing an estimated two million car journeys off the road. This move follows a previous announcement of £130 million in government funding for the bus industry across England to provide post pandemic relief and ensure that vital bus routes remain viable Jessica Atkinson 

The HELENUS project to test the use of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) in cruise vessels to provide greener energy. The HELENUS project, launched by an European Union (EU) funded consortium and Alma Clean Power aims to decarbonise the future of ocean cruise vessels by highlighting the efficiency of using Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs). The EU has committed to funding nearly €15 million from June 2022 to July 2027 for the project to build, integrate and demonstrate a 500kW SOFC operating in cogeneration mode to provide heat and power on board a MSC World class series ocean cruise vessel. Though green fuels are still not widely available for the cruise industry, SOFCs are the most efficient chemical energy converters available and are highly fuel flexible. Greener fuel can be facilitated by using the same tank and fuel system for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ammonia, while methanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ethanol, and syngas can all be used in Alma’s fuel cells. The expected success of this project will enable the expansion of SOFC technology in cruise vessels and provide significant fuel savings due to increased efficiency, and possibly contribute to zero emission targets Jessica Atkinson 

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