Sustainability Article

A low-emission future for the transportation sector

Reuben Sarkar, President and CEO of the American Center for Mobility, says embracing electrification and investing in cutting-edge technologies will be critical to tackling emissions in the mobility sector.

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Globally, the transportation sector ranks second in emitting greenhouse gases, accounting for just over one-fifth of CO₂ emissions worldwide. In the US, it has become the top emitter of greenhouse gases, surpassing the electric power sector since 2017.

Electrification, a key factor in emissions reduction, extends beyond battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer a versatile alternative. Clean electrons can be sourced from hydrogen production using renewable, nuclear or even fossil energy with carbon capture.

As electrification gains traction, hydrogen will play a vital role, particularly in hard-to-electrify sectors such as long-haul trucking and aviation. Hydrogen’s appeal lies in its fast filling rate, comparable to diesel and shorter than batteries, making it suitable for large vehicles requiring long-range capabilities and quick refueling. Beyond fuel cells, hydrogen can also be used in internal combustion engines.

Whether hydrogen becomes widely adopted is dependent on achieving a market-driven price. This requires making low-carbon energy more affordable and achieving economies of scale for production, storage, distribution and dispensing systems. While some regions may have access to low-cost solar, wind or hydro power, in other areas, R&D breakthroughs will be required in advanced water-splitting methods, still under development, as well as continued advancements in storage and transport solutions.

“Tackling greenhouse gas emissions requires improving vehicle efficiency, embracing electrification through diverse means, and investing in cutting-edge technologies to make alternative fuels such as hydrogen economically viable. This integrated strategy is crucial for a sustainable, low-emission future in the transportation sector.”

Reuben Sarkar
President and CEO of the American Center for Mobility

Reuben Sarkar