Trying to understand the CO2 emissions associated with fuels, has proven really difficult!

However, making data on fuel efficiency and emissions easily understandable is essential for fostering informed choices, protecting the environment, reducing costs, engaging the public, guiding policy, and driving innovation. It’s a key step towards a sustainable and energy-efficient future!



A step back - Why are we even talking about this?

Transportation accounts for 24% of global CO2 emissions. Despite progress in electrifying passenger vehicles, heavy vehicles, such as road freight, aviation, and shipping, contribute 51.6% of transportation emissions and remain largely unaddressed.

Acting now is crucial because changing or refitting engines to new fuels takes a long time!

- The transition to more efficient and cleaner fuels involves significant logistical and technical challenges, and delays can result in prolonged environmental and economic impacts. Therefore, immediate action based on clear and accessible data is essential for a timely and effective transition.


This chart shows the global transport emission in 2018, which totalled 8 billion tonnes CO2. In the bottom we have the passenger vehicles, above these, we have the heavy transport, accounting for 51.6%!


But can we do anything about it?

Understanding the emissions of each fuel is essential for evaluating their environmental and health impacts, guiding policy and decision-making, planning energy transitions, raising public awareness, and driving technological innovation. It lays the groundwork for developing strategies that can lead to a more sustainable and healthier future.

Thus this chart that compares the CO2 emission of some of the most popular fuel types:





But how effective are these fuels?

Knowing the efficiency of each fuel is vital for maximizing energy output!

Evaluating in terms of energy per MJ/kg (megajoules per kilogram), a higher value indicates that the fuel contains more energy per unit of mass, making it more efficient and effective at storing and releasing energy. A high MJ/kg means that less fuel is needed to produce the same amount of energy compared to a fuel with a lower MJ/kg value.




Emission vs. effectiveness

Comparing CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency is crucial for understanding the full environmental and economic impacts of different fuels, making informed decisions, developing effective policies, achieving sustainability goals, and driving technological innovation. This dual assessment ensures a balanced approach to energy production and consumption that prioritizes both efficiency and environmental responsibility.

This is, of course, just a starting point, because many more factors play a role, which I will mention in my delimitation.

By considering both CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency, we can make more balanced and effective decisions to address our energy needs and environmental responsibilities, moving forward.





But what about renewable energy?

When considdering renewable energy sources, it is vital to remember two things: 1. that renewable energy in transportation needs to be stored in batteries. Batteries require mining minerals and also have an impact on emission. 2. Batteries require space. 

This is how much storage capacity is needed for various battery types, if they were to run a container ship. This does not however considder how much capicity is needed to run a truck. 





This project has been created as a conversation starter and a starting point for examining more climate and energy-efficient fuel types.
If this project caught your attention, these are more exciting subjects to look into that did not fit into this project:

1. Emissions are not just CO2, but also SOx, NOx, and PM - how much of these are emitted?

2. The lifecycle emissions of fuels, including extraction, transportation, and refining processes,
and how they may impact the overall carbon footprint.

3. The economic and social implications of transitioning to different fuel types, including cost, infrastructure changes,
and potential job impacts.

4. The role of policy and regulation in shaping the future of fuel usage and emissions standards.

5. Comparisons of energy efficiency and emissions in real-world conditions versus theoretical models.

6. The costs and emissions associated with converting existing engines to run on new fuels, considering the long life expectancy of many marine engines, which means that changes occur more slowly than the world needs right now.

Also, always remember to be critical in terms of sources. Some of these data were obtained from
MAN Energy Solutions, a company that builds engines. While their data can be highly valuable,
it's important to consider potential biases and cross-reference with independent studies.






Copyright: @Maikie -
Disclaimer: This data may not be shared without
written consent from the author