My speach in Brussels

The 5th Diesel Emissions Conference was this time held in Brussels. The global forum for diesel emissions covers all kinds of emissions from diesel use, from cars to HD trucks. With the up-coming US10, Euro V and Euro VI the presentations focused on different technologies to meet the future challenges.

Paul Wauters gave a presentation from a user perspective. Today when incentives are given locally for buying in to Euro V incentive ahead of legislation, how does this pay off for the truck operator? As it turns out, economically there is not much difference as compared to Euro IV. The message to the legislators was to look over the local incentive rules and to harmonise them.

Barb Samardzich, Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Ford Motors, explained the complex situation of diesel use in the US. There are strong emotional boundaries that prevents rapid growth of the most efficient propulsion technologies. In addition with future emission legislation, catalytic emission control relies on a second “fuel”, AdBlue. Build-up of supply chains was said to be far from easy in the US infrastructure for transportation.

In my presentation, I highlighted the future challenges where multiple factors lead to new demands for transport solutions for public transports and buses:

– increasing oil price

– biomass price race and priorities for transports versus food

– availability of natural gas and local biogas production

– global warming priorities for decreased green house gases

– coal power plants for electricity production

– and most importantly the need to decrease energy use

In that perspective it is essential to find solutions that are cost efficient for society and provides maximum benefit for the environment. The prioritised actions from society should be:

1, Increase the priority from society of the person transports that gives the most performance per cost unit (mostly, this means priority to bus over cars, rails, tram and metro).

2, Put priority to further improving the infrastructure for the most efficient technology (mostly, this means that bus traffic should be prioritised in infrastructure, the key word is Bus Rapid Transit, BRT)

3, Put priority to investments in vehicles that offers the lowest energy “cost” (mostly, this will lead to hybrid buses)

4, Be open for harmonisation of emission legislation, test cycles, fuel standards, incentives and taxes (mostly, this will lead to less local solutions, lower cost, increased competitiveness, globally)

The analysis was strongly supported by most of the audience.

During the question session it was said that the political “time constant” or election periods, of 3-5 years, is too short to motivate long term infrastructural decisions and even cost efficient long term decissions.

On the way back I was glad to find that the commuter buses from the city centre to the airport seems to have gained some priority. The bus stop has been moved closer to the terminal and if I am not mistaken there has been made room for additional routs to traffic the airport. De Lijn operates the route amongst others with the Volvo fuel consumption star B7RLE (in this case with a Jonckheere body, if I managed to read the labelling right on the run).

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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