The EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% based on the 1990 level by 2020 and further reductions are expected beyond that timeframe. However, realising this and subsequent targets may become increasingly challenging, given the past growth and future projections of transportation greenhouse gas emissions.
TOSCA's objective is to provide a better strategic perspective on the potential contributions to reductions in transportation greenhouse gas emissions from new transportation technologies and fuels. Secondly TOSCA, to better understand the policy interventions that are necessary to push (potentially expensive) technologies and fuels into the market, has a further objective to assess the penetration of these options under different future scenario and policy conditions. These scenario outputs are then evaluated with regard to their technical feasibility, economic affordability, and overall likelihood of realisation.
TOSCA consists of eight work packages, drawing on expertise from seven organisations across Europe. The first three work packages, primarily literature-based, assess state-of-the-art technologies for road vehicles, aircraft and railways along with their associated costs and potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These studies are accompanied by a lifecycle analysis of the energy use, costs, emissions and resource potential of current and future transportation fuels in work package 4, and an assessment of the current capacity of the European transport infrastructure in work package 5. Once these studies are completed, their results are used as input into work packages 6 and 7, which evaluate the uptake of different technologies, potential for reduction in emissions, and likelihood of realisation under a number of different future scenarios with and without policy input. Finally, dissemination is handled by Work package 8.
TOSCA’s techno-economic assessment suggests that energy use can be reduced by 30-50% for most transport modes using technologies that could become available during the 2020s, compared to the average new technology in place today; natural fleet turnover would then translate these new vehicle-based reductions into the entire fleet by midcentury.
For automobiles and narrowbody aircraft, these efficiency gains can be exploited through reduced driving or flight resistances in combination with a radical propulsion system change. For automobiles (and to some extent light-duty trucks), a promising technology trajectory is the stepwise electrification of the vehicle powertrain: from mechanical, to hybrid-electric, plug-in hybridelectric, to battery-only and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. For narrowbody aircraft, open rotor engines optimised for a carbon-fiber airframe with unswept wings, operating at slightly reduced cruise speeds promise the largest reduction in fuel burn, unless travel is shifted to advanced turboprop aircraft. For passenger and freight railways, options in addition to lower driving resistance include increased energy recovery at braking, eco-drving, and improved space utilization, along with other measures.
The only exception to these opportunities are state-of-the-art medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which are already comparatively close to the technological fuel efficiency limit and thus offer a lower potential for reducing energy use. In addition, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) could reduce energy use by another 5-20%, depending on the transportation mode.
In addition, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) could reduce energy use by another 5-20%, depending on the transportation mode. And these reductions in CO2 emissions can be further complemented by second generation biofuels and electricity from low carbon sources. A more electricity- based transport system also offers ancillary benefits in terms of reduced energy import dependence.
The project in order to better understant the long-term effects of policies used scenario analysis up to 2050.
TOSCA project in its results indicated that in order to exploite the potential of these opportunities requires policy intervention. Many of the critical automobile, narrowbody aircraft, and (some) ITS technologies and second generation biofuels rely on substantial (EU-wide) R&D investments in order to be produced at large, commercial scale. In addition, a carbon price of around €150 per ton of CO2 would be required for advanced narrowbody aircraft technologies to become cost-effective and this price would need to be more than twice for advanced automobile technologies, unless the new technologies are regulated into the market.
Moreover, industry would need to be encouraged to make the capital-intensive investments to manufacture these technologies and fuels. Realising these opportunities thus requires predictable market conditions that need to be ensured by technology and climate policy. Realizing these opportunities also requires society to prioritize climate change mitigation over other needs, as these policy interventions will lead to additional public expenditures (and thus to higher taxes or cuts in other government budgets at times of a public finance crisis) and/or to higher prices and thus decreased mobility.