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Electrification versus hydrogen for UK road freight: Conclusions from a systems analysis of transport energy transitions

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Haugen, MJ 
Flynn, D 
Greening, P 
Tichler, J 
Blythe, P 


Collectively the UK investment in transport decarbonisation is greater than £27B from government for incentivising zero-emission vehicles as part of an urgent response to decarbonise the transport sector. The investments made must facilitate a transition to a long-term solution. The success relies on coordinating and testing the evolution of both the energy and transport systems, this avoids the risk of unforeseen consequences in both systems and therefore de-risks investment Here, we present a semiquantitative energy and transport system analysis for UK road freight focusing on two primary investment areas for nation-wide decarbonisation, namely electrification and hydrogen propulsion. Our study assembles and assesses the potential roadblocks of these energy systems into a concise record and considers the infrastructure in relation to all other components within the energy system. It highlights that for system-wide success and resilience, a hydrogen system must overcome hydrogen production and distribution barriers, whereas an electric system needs to optimise storage solutions and charging facilities. Without cohesive, co-evolving energy networks, the planning and operational modelling of transport decarbonisation may fall short of meaningful real-world results. A developed understanding of the dependencies between the energy and transport systems is a necessary step in the development of meaningful operational transport models that could de-risk investment in both the energy and transport systems.



Energy systems, Energy infrastructure, Transport, Decarbonisation

Journal Title

Energy for Sustainable Development

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Elsevier BV
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R035199/1)