CEFIC Says Chemicals Can Help Decarbonize Transport

27.07.2016 -

Commenting on the European Commission’s publication last week of its strategy to decarbonize the EU transport sector, Marco Mensink, director general of the European Chemistry Council, CEFIC, said achieving the EU’s three steps of achieving efficiency in the transport system, low-emission alternative energy sources and low- and zero-emission vehicles “will require innovative chemistry.”

The EU chemical industry is a high tech industry that will invest in developing the necessary solutions and deploy them at industrial scale, Mensink remarked, mentioning “power to gas” and “power to liquid” as offering “huge potential towards decarbonizing transport.” Moving beyond first generation fuels to advanced biofuels is another step change the sector can be part of, he added.

In the latter case, the CEFIC chief called on the Commission “to ensure it is consistent in its policymaking regarding second generation bio based fuels, which will be important for cutting greenhouse gases.” After its initial strong push for first generation, food-based biofuels, he noted that the EU executive “then changed tack, which has depressed investment in the biofuels sector for the last years.”

Long-term certainty will be critical in order for chemical companies to make investment decisions to support uptake of alternative fuels, Mensink said. “We hope this strategy gives the needed confirmation of what the Commission expects from industry and from the second generation biofuels sector.”

From the industry’s viewpoint, to decarbonize transport the Commission should select one major focus for technology investment rather than taking a fragmented regional investment approach, which risks solutions not coming to market. Mensink said the EU also should engage industry not only for joint investment but also for research projects.

The chemical industry, which according to CEFIC’s figures represents almost 10% of total EU freight emissions, “works hard” to cut the environmental impact of its logistics by emphasizing rail and barge rather than road transport, Mensink said.