Volume 26: Closing Carbon Cycles – A Transformation Process Involving Technology, Economy, and Society: Part I

Lifecycle Climate Impact of Cars and Trucks Powered by Bioelectricity, Biofuels or Fossil Fuels Leif Gustavsson, Roger Sathre



Here we compare the biomass feedstock use, net CO2 emission, and cumulative radiative forcing of passenger cars and cargo trucks powered by different energy pathways. We consider the full lifecycle of the vehicles, including manufacture and operation. Our system boundaries include all fossil and biogenic emissions from technical systems, and the avoided decay emissions from harvest residue left in the forest. We find that the pathways using bioelectricity to power battery electric vehicles have strongly lower climate impacts, compared to the liquid-fuelled internal combustion pathways using biomethanol, DME, gasoline or diesel. The pathways using bioelectricity with carbon capture and storage (CCS) result in negative emissions leading to global cooling. These findings suggest that accelerating the current trend toward vehicle electrification, together with scaling up renewable electricity generation, is a wise strategy for climate-adapted transport.

Keywords biomethanol, dimethyl-ether, battery electric vehicles, climate change, woody biomass, BECCS

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