Decarbonizing Indian road logistics: a vital sustainability goal
The imperative of decarbonizing Indian road logistics for a sustainable future
India, as one of the world's fastest-growing major economies, is confronted with the imperative task of decarbonizing its road transportation sector. This sector not only commands a substantial portion of the nation's energy demand but also contributes significantly to associated carbon emissions. In order for India to meet its ambitious net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2070, concerted efforts must be made to initiate the decarbonization of its transport sector.
Challenges in the road transport sector
Although road transportation currently accounts for less than one fifth of India's total energy consumption, it is responsible for nearly 12% of the country's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. With India's economy experiencing rapid growth, this sector and its emissions are escalating at a pace that outstrips other sectors. Thus, there is an urgent call to address the environmental impact of diesel-powered transportation, especially in the context of long-haul road movement.
While electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining traction in the last-mile logistics segment, their widespread adoption in long-haul heavy-duty transport remains a longer-term prospect. This is due to the need for substantial advancements in battery technology, charging infrastructure, and charging technology. In the interim, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) presents itself as a pragmatic solution to significantly reduce emissions in road logistics until zero-emission alternatives become commercially viable.
The potential of LNG
LNG-powered Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) offer multiple environmental advantages, emitting up to 30% less CO2, 100% less SOx, 59% lower NOx, 70% lower CO, and 91% fewer particulate matter emissions compared to their diesel-powered counterparts. LNG vehicles also boast an impressive range of up to 1,400 kilometers on a single tank fill and contribute to a 30% reduction in noise pollution. These qualities position LNG as an optimal transition fuel for decarbonizing heavy transport.
India's trucking fleet, characterized primarily by medium-sized trucks with inefficient fuel consumption, faces challenges in fuel efficiency. Deploying larger trucks with greater payloads on long-haul routes could substantially enhance efficiency and reduce emissions. However, the trucking sector's emissions are projected to quadruple over the next few decades, making LNG adoption a critical step towards mitigating emissions.
In conclusion, LNG serves as a pivotal alternative fuel to expedite India's transition to a cleaner long-haul heavy-duty freight transport system. By embracing LNG, India can make significant progress in aligning with its emissions reduction goals and Prime Minister Modi's vision of a gas-based economy, all while fostering a greener future and bolstering corporate environmental stewardship.