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The international experts pleaded at the Zero CO₂ Mobility for the parallel pursuit and promotion of all technological alternatives from renewable energy sources for sustainable mobility.


The international FEV conference “Zero CO₂ Mobility” was held at the end of 2022 and once again attracted top-class speakers. Participants were convinced that the 1.5-degree target of the Paris climate protection agreement in the transport sector can no longer be achieved with the measures introduced to date. Consequently, further tightened regulations for the phase-out of fossil fuels up to a ban on fossil fuels were discussed. At the same time, the experts in Aachen pleaded for the parallel pursuit and promotion of all technological alternatives from renewable energy sources for sustainable mobility – from e-vehicles to the use of green hydrogen in fuel cells and combustion engines to e-fuels for the existing fleet.

An online survey reflected the conviction of the more than 100 participating experts: 93 percent said that global warming will exceed +1.5 degrees by 2050, and a third of them even said it will be more than +2.5 degrees. “This makes it all the more important to finally push maximum speed ahead for the fastest possible transition away from all fossil fuels in the transportation sector,” said host Dr. Norbert W. Alt, COO of FEV Group, in his welcoming note. Although he assessed the development of electromobility worldwide as positive, with more e-cars now being sold in Germany than new cars with diesel engines. However, he said, the associated CO₂ reduction will not be significantly noticeable until 2040 and beyond due to the global existing fleet of around 1.4 billion passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Focus on Hydrogen
On the path to defossilization, green hydrogen is rated as the key potential energy carrier of the future. The EU recently released 5.2 billion euros to support a total of 35 hydrogen projects, flanked by another seven billion from private investment sources. In Aachen, the focus was on the current challenges in dealing with hydrogen, gaseous or liquid, on climate-neutral production, transport, storage, distribution, and infrastructure. Due to the high efficiency and ranges with short refueling times, especially heavy-duty commercial vehicles in long-distance traffic, various off-road applications, railroads and finally aviation rely on hydrogen and fuel cell drives.

In very concrete terms, Linde Engineering presented its three main objectives in the handling and transport of liquid hydrogen: reducing the dead weight of distribution systems and transport equipment using aluminum or composites, improving the value chain through shorter refueling times of transport equipment and fewer losses through highly efficient pumping systems.

Electric mobility continues to gain ground
Clear signals for technological change are also coming from e-mobility. The global availability of BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) has increased significantly, the extremely high efficiency of the electric drive is unrivaled and is therefore assessed as the main drive technology of the future to be used in passenger cars and increasingly also for truck applications. This is also reflected in the willingness and success of car manufacturers to consistently electrify their own icons: In Aachen, Volkswagen traced the path from the legendary cult object Vee-Dub to the all-electric ID.Buzz, which, as part of the decarbonization program, is the first CO₂ neutral Volkswagen produced and will be handed over to customers without the much-cited CO₂ backpack.

At the FEV conference, Indian manufacturer Mahindra outlined the political levers on its home market: targeted government support, such as for local battery and component production or the development of infrastructure, the stringent definition of national standards and concrete incentives for Indian OEMs are intended to achieve the transformation of mobility, which manifests itself, among other things, in the sales target of 10 million electric vehicles in India in 2030.
The Zero CO₂ Mobility Conference 2022 also reported on the further accelerated planned expansion of the charging infrastructure for BEVs, particularly in HPC chargers for long-distance mobility.

Solid-state batteries for more sustainability
Solid-state batteries are also helping to accelerate the global availability of e-mobility, and they can score with tangible advantages compared to lithium-ion batteries: FEV partner ProLogium presented its latest product generation in Aachen, which features up to 79 percent higher energy density with 66 percent faster charging time and 16 percent lower costs compared to conventional lithium-ion technology. In addition, the used solid-state electrolyte is 90 percent recyclable as well as reusable, and the intrinsic safety of the batteries against thermal runaway has also been significantly increased.

FEV, as a partner company of ProLogium, has many years of experience in battery development. The customized design and integration of battery systems consider the battery management system as well as the cells, modules, and packs. Depending on the application, the company offers solutions with high specific power and energy density. With the eDLP near Leipzig, FEV operates the world's largest independent battery development and test center for high-voltage batteries.

It won't work without phasing out fossil fuels
Despite the impressive technological progress, the targeted climate goal for 2050 cannot be achieved unless stricter targets for reducing energy consumption and CO₂ emissions are implemented as quickly as possible, concluded numerous contributions as well as the exciting panel discussion at this year's FEV conference. The following options were discussed at this expert conference:
  • CO₂-taxation models in the transport sector up to extreme values of 1,000 euros per metric ton of CO₂ (this would correspond to a CO₂ tax of 2.56 euros per liter of diesel fuel alone) to accelerate the technology shift away from fossil combustion engines
  • Significantly higher RFNBO (Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin) quotas for the use of e-fuels in existing fleets; the current target here is only around 5.5 percent in the EU in 2030
  • A complete phase-out of fossil gasoline and diesel in 2040 was also discussed, like the coal phase-out in Germany. Thus, all vehicles would run either electrically, on hydrogen, or on H₂ based e-fuel and partially on biofuels, including existing fleets.
  • In addition, speed limits for freeway traffic can also contribute to CO₂ reduction in the transport sector with immediate effect: one to two percent at 130 km/h in Germany, even four percent at 100 km/h as in the Netherlands.

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