Volume 08: Proceedings of Applied Energy Symposium: MIT A+B, United States, 2020

Decarbonizing Freight Transport: Mobile Carbon Capture from Heavy Duty Vehicles Christina Reynolds, Christian Lastoskie*, Gretchen Keppel-Aleks


The future of passenger transportation lies in electrification. Freight transportation however has size and weight limitations that make electrification challenging, such that the continued emission of carbon dioxide from the combustion exhaust of heavy-duty vehicles is likely. A carbon capture strategy to intercept CO2 from mobile emission sources, analogous to stationary capture systems for power plants, is therefore attractive to reduce CO2 emissions from freight shipping. The economic and environmental implications of a conceptual technology, utilizing a porous adsorbent bed to selectively remove CO2 from tailpipe exhaust, are examined herein. In the economic evaluation, the hypothetical abatement cost for mobile carbon capture is found to be competitive with stationary capture and with vehicle electrification at about $100 per ton of avoided CO2 emissions. Based on the market potential of land freight shipping, 0.12 to 0.15 °C of avoided warming through the end of the century is achievable by the implementation of mobile carbon capture for long-haul freight vehicles. Collectively, carbon capture from heavy-duty vehicles could provide a practical, cost-competitive, and sustainable contribution to mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions.

Keywords carbon dioxide, separation, economics

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