Photo credits @ Pxhere/ Robert Couse-Baker (illustrative purposes only)

Urgent support needed for CO2-neutral fuels in heavy-duty vehicles, say industry leaders

A group of 24 industry leaders from the transport, engineering, fuel production and energy sectors have called on the EU to step up its efforts to create a solid policy framework for the greening of the heavy-duty sector.

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In a joint letter to Deputy Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani, Spain’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, 24 industry leaders from the transport, engineering, fuel production and energy sectors have highlighted the critical role that reducing the use of fossil fuels in the heavy-duty transport sector will play in meeting climate change targets.

The leaders, representing companies such as the eFuel Alliance, CLEPA, Eurogas and FuelsEurope, believe that reducing the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector is crucial to meeting climate change targets. They argue that alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and biofuels, can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and are essential for the transition to more sustainable mobility and supply chains.

The letter highlights that alternative fuels, in addition to electrification of road transport, represent a significant opportunity for CO2 savings. These fuels can contribute to reducing net carbon emissions, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and diversifying energy sources across the transport system, including aviation and shipping. The signatories underlined the maturity and cost-effectiveness of certain technologies for CO2-neutral fuels and the advantage of using existing infrastructures for their distribution.

Concerns were raised about the risks of pursuing a unilateral path to decarbonising the transport system, particularly in the heavy-duty sector. The letter highlighted that failure to adequately plan for the supply and demand of CO2 neutral fuels could disrupt freight transport, more than half of which is currently transported by road in the EU.

To unlock the potential of CO2 neutral fuels, the letter called for the creation of incentives to increase their share in the energy mix. The signatories called for certainty and prospects for fleet operators and investors beyond the targets set by the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

The letter acknowledged recent developments in the European Parliament’s vote on stricter CO2 emission standards for heavy duty vehicles. 

In particular, the Parliament defined CO2 neutral fuels, mandated the European Commission to develop a methodology for the registration of vehicles using these fuels, and called for an assessment of the role of renewable fuels by the end of 2025. However, the rejection of the carbon correction factor was regretted, as it could reflect the immediate contribution of CO2-neutral fuels to the decarbonisation of the sector.

The signatories expressed disappointment with the Council’s general approach, which does not allow for an assessment of CO2 neutral fuels until 2027. They argued that delaying action for another four years could be a missed opportunity and urged the inclusion of a provision mandating the Commission to assess the role of these fuels in decarbonising the sector by 2025.

With trilogue negotiations imminent, the letter called on Deputy Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani to support the European Parliament’s amendments on CO2-neutral fuels and include them in the final legislation. The signatories emphasised the need to step up action to create a robust policy framework that reflects the diverse needs of businesses and societies across Europe and advocates a range of viable solutions.

Photo credits @ Pxhere/ Robert Couse-Baker (illustrative purposes only)