Transport sector accounts for almost 30% of all energy consumption globally

Whether moving freight or passengers, transportation plays a major role in our society and economy. There are broadly four different modes of transport – air, road, rail and marine. Demand for transport has been rapidly increasing along with economic growth and is expected to continue to do so well into the future. Currently, the transport sector is one of the largest sources of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution because of its heavy reliance on energy-dense oil products, mainly petrol and diesel. Despite the strong pressures to move away from hydrocarbons due to the need to mitigate climate change and national plans to reduce reliance on fuel imports, there has so far been limited success in shifting towards a low carbon transport sector, especially in comparison to achievements in electricity. Shifting to lower carbon fuels in transport is a difficult task since neither batteries nor hydrogen can yet provide energy density levels high enough to substitute for oil products in some use cases. However, policy initiatives in the UK and worldwide are facilitating the shift to lower carbon means of transport, including financial incentives for buying low-emission cars, and various bans announced on future sales of petrol and diesel cars.

A transformation of the transport sector is underway, characterised mainly by three trends: electrification, shared mobility and automation. Widespread integration of electric vehicles to the energy system is expected to have significant systemic impacts, as it can allow the roll-out of smart charging at scale; this can provide additional flexibility for managing the electrical grid. Though this transformation is driven by technological developments and market forces, these changes present opportunities to achieve a more sustainable transportation sector. There is particular potential to reduce transport emissions through changes such as modal shift, behavioural change, vehicle efficiency improvements, the use of low carbon fuels, and new business models.

Learn more about transport by exploring records published on our Energy Matrix.

For the latest news and articles on the transport sector read Energy World.

Discover UK professionals' views on decarbonising transport by reading our annual Energy Barometer.

What's new?

How hydrogen can accelerate the decarbonisation of transport

1-11-2020
Batteries are not a one-size-fits-all solution for ending the UK’s transport emissions. Dr Gareth Hinds looks at what it will take for hydrogen to make its own contribution.

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Transforming long-haul transport fuels

1-11-2020
Electric vehicles show considerable promise as a way to reduce emissions from transport, but fall short when it comes to long-distance sectors such as shipping and road haulage. So the maritime sector is pioneering the use of ammonia as a green alternative to fossil fuels, writes David Appleyard.

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World’s largest test facility for CO2 transport opened by Norwegian Prime Minister

30-10-2020
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has opened the world’s largest CO2 transport test facility in Porsgrunn, Norway. The object is to learn more about how CO2 in both gas and liquid form behaves during pipeline transport, which will help to scale up CO2 transport and storage in the future...

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Driving down emissions for low carbon public transport

14-10-2020
In the UK, road transport is the only sector where emissions have continued to grow, increasing by 6% to ~118 MtCO2e by 2017, the equivalent of 21% of the UK’s total GHG emissions (ONS, 2019). Car use remains one of the most popular methods of travel with 31.5 million licensed vehicles, contributing...

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UK embraces hydrogen-fuelled future as transport hub and train announced

30-09-2020
The first-ever hydrogen-powered train has run on the UK mainline. The trials of the train, known as HydroFLEX,  follow almost 2 years’ development work and more than £1 million  investment by both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham. Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen-powered tra...

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Events and training

EI LIVE | Asset Management

10-03-2021
EI Knowledge Partner: Future-proofing asset management through latter stages of production operating life into a net zero energy transition model towards greener, carbon neutral industrial model.Please note that registration closes at 17:00 on 9 March 2021

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UK MoD Aviation Fuels Committee Meeting

16-03-2021
Receive essential guidance and updates on aviation fuel specifications.

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EI LIVE Free Webinar | Hydrogen: hype or hope?

21-04-2021
Could hydrogen mark the beginning of a new era for clean energy in UK and Europe?Please note that registration closes at 17:00 on 20 April 2021EI Knowledge Partner:Sponsor:

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EI LIVE | Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - May 2021

4-05-2021
This 6-day interactive training course and certificate will teach delegates the fundamentals of improving safety culture using the award-winning Hearts and Minds toolkit.  It will teach the fundamentals of safety culture change, focusing on the various stages of a culture change programme, from...

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Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - September 2021

20-09-2021
This 2-day training course provides delegates with an overview of principal activities in the international upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum industry.

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Technical guidance publications

Case study on reducing manual handling and ergonomics related incidents in the offshore wind industry

2020
This document provides support and practical examples to help reduce MH&E related incidents in the offshore wind industry. The requirement for support and guidelines to reduce MH incidents in the offshore wind industry originates from:Reporting that indicates that MH injuries are one of the larg...

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Battery storage guidance note 3: Design, construction and maintenance

2020
This publication is free to download. Please log in to see the download option.This publication captures learning and experience from battery storage construction projects, with special emphasis on ensuring the safety of such projects to people and environment.Based on industry interviews and availa...

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French translation - G+/DROPS Reliable securing booklet for offshore wind

2020
Free to download. For more information on the G+ visit www.gplusoffshorewind.comThis document is an adaptation of selected DROPS Reliable securing, Best practice recommendations for the securing of structure and equipment at the worksite content to provide guidance and functional reco...

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HM 93. A guide to manual sampling of hydrocarbon liquids

2020
Anyone involved in oil production, transportation, refining, storage or distribution will be aware of the importance of sampling and testing to ensure that crude oil and products meet the required specifications. This guide provides practical advice on sampling of hydrocarbon liquids across a wide r...

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EI Research report: Investigation into the minimum auto-ignition temperature of fuels in open-air conditions

2020
This study was conducted in order to evaluate the AITs of typical UK fuels in order to validate measurement expectations for these fuels, and thus to allow considerations on whether current EI guidelines needed revision.This report covers three phases of work carried out between August 2016 and June...

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