Will technology save our planet?

28 January 2021

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Climeworks, a Swiss Company, is working on technology capturing carbon dioxide from air in Iceland. Microsoft has implemented the AI for Earth program for scientists working in environmental projects, thanks to which 508 technological innovations related to ecology received a research grant. The European Union and the United States want to reach the zero-emission level.

Climate scientists estimate that the average temperature on Earth today is 0.85°C higher than in the end of the 19th century. According to the scientists, warming by more than 2°C will affect the environment drastically. To make a change, new technologies and guidelines will have a great impact on the world of logistics.

93% of Europeans see climate changes as a serious problem

Undoubtedly, the climate is warming. It also goes without saying that it is caused by human activity. The increased emission of greenhouse gases, deforestation and industrial livestock breeding are one of those actions which have a growing influence on the Earth’s climate. The biggest contributor to this is emission of gases, especially carbon dioxide, being responsible for 63% of global warming caused by industry.

It is optimistic that people are more aware of global warming. The popularity of this issue encouraged companies to meet expectations of consumers by delivering more ecological services and tools.

European Union begins to regulate the impact of transport on climate

Awareness of global warming and climate changes is increasing, also in logistics. According to the research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield, over 80% of warehouse space tenants ask about pro-ecological solutions in warehouses.

We can observe a greater number of services and tools which are to optimize a negative impact of transport on the climate. A big role is played here by the European Union, which decided to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

In the document called the white paper we can read that ‘new vehicle and traffic management technologies will be the key to reduce emissions from transport in the EU and the world.’ The following activities are being planned:

– development and implementation of new fuels and propulsion systems, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development,

– optimization of multimodal logistics chains, e.g. by increased use of more energy-efficient means of transport,

– 30% of road freight transport for distances longer than 300 km will be transferred to railway or waterways transport by 2030, whereas by 2050 it should constitute over 50% of these types of transport.

Emission of greenhouse gases is to be reduced by standards and regulations established by the European Union. These are, among others, requirements imposed on vehicle manufacturers, who are obligated to produce type-approved trucks, in accordance with the regulation. The EU subsidizes green vehicles and gives toll discounts. Such actions aim to encourage carriers to invest in the fleet that will not have any negative influence on the environment. For now, the changes are not drastic. However, the closer we get to 2050, the stricter regulations we can expect. Given the technology and road infrastructure currently in use, the goal pursued by the EU is very ambitious.

As of January this year, in Germany an environmental fee will be charged for CO2 emissions to fuel. It is estimated that carriers with an annual mileage of 100,000 kilometers and a fuel consumption of 32 liters will bear additional costs from 2000 up to 5200 euro per truck. In turn, last December MEPs agreed that the final price for the Eurovignette will depend on the amount of CO2 emissions. Carriers using zero-emission trucks will receive toll discounts of at least 50% within the EU. The directive will start to apply from 2023. 

Electric trucks, delivery drones and alternative fuels are a response from the transport industry to climate changes

F&G Transport will be the first company to use an all-electric truck – Volta Zero. It is estimated that Volta Zero will eliminate around 180,000 tons of CO2 by 2025.

goodloading-Volta-Trucks

source: https://www.voltatrucks.com/

 

Another solution is the use of transport drones, which are not only designed to speed up deliveries, but also be more environmentally sustainable thanks to the use of electricity. There are also some alternative fuels on the market, i.e. biofuel, hydrogen or synthetic fuels, however, electricity is said to be the fuel of the future. 

So far, ecological solutions have been searched only by large and the well-informed companies with the right resources for testing and implementing new technologies. What does this mean for smaller companies? Will they be able to adapt? Will technology save our planet?

Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is the development of technology that is largely responsible for the deterioration of climatic conditions. The industrial revolution or industrialization greatly contributed to environmental pollution and depletion of natural resources. Today, when observing the direction in which the development is heading, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.