In road-based transport sector there is a great dependency on fossil resources. Due to the awareness in terms of CO2 emissions, fine dust, scarce oil reserves and volatile oil prices in recent years, there is the need to search for alternatives.
In the study, alternative fuels and environmentally friendly drive concepts for use in a regional public transport companies (Mürztaler Verkehrsbetriebe mbH) have been investigated. The aim was to find a suitable system whose underlying fuel can be produced in the region, which is economically and organizationally positive for the transport company and provides environmentally friendly mobility in the respective region.
There were investigated the potential of a regional fuel production and assessed the impact of a possible use of alternative drive systems on the existing fleet. There were studied different systems and displayed their costs, environmental friendliness and purpose. Further, a survey explored the market potential of the different systems on the basis of the interest of transport companies for new propulsion technologies.
The explorations of the region on the potential for the production of fuels has shown that due to the lack of arable land for energy crop production (production of oil, biodiesel and bioethanol) in this region (political district of Bruck an der Mur) it is not possible to provide enough fuels. The biogas potential from organic waste must be considered too low to cover the given fuel demand. Only wood is available in sufficient quantity to meet the fuel demand of the transport company of Mürztal (Mürztaler Verkehrsgesellschaft, MVG). However, a production of synthetic fuels from wood is not economically under the current conditions.
Regarding the assessment of different driving systems, it can be said that hybrid drives represent the system that could currently bring the most benefits in summary. Hybrid drives will be available in a short time on the market, not entail significant additional costs for the transport company, offer potential for saving fuel and thereby reduce emissions. The only, but not to be underestimated disadvantage is the higher cost of hybrid vehicles. Thus, it can be concluded that under current conditions a conversion of vehicles of the MVG on an alternative drive system that best meets the criteria cannot be done without economic disadvantages for the companies. Subsidies and grants are needed to make the conversion economically useful.
Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT):