This theme will attempt to holistically examine the transport models being brought together by Decarbonising UK Freight transport. This includes assessing the fidelity, complexity and recursions required for investment decisions to be made using such data and models for all forms of freight transport.
The theme is interested in understanding the dynamics that are important to capture in models, the relevance of current models, and the resolution (temporal/spatial) that is required to assess investment.
Managing uncertainty (macroeconomic, policy and technology) whilst mitigating climate risks in investment decisions
The theme’s guiding objective is to understand approaches to manage climate risk, specifically transition risk, in investment decisions in the freight transport sector. Specifically, the theme aims to understand:
- The perceived investment risks surrounding transport infrastructure investments for different stakeholders (including financiers and fleet owner/operators, infrastructure providers) across the different freight modes (specifically road and sea freight), stakeholders’ decision-making process related to the risks and what barriers they face.
- The key metrics, benchmarks, indices, tools, models, frameworks, used by investors to evaluate climate risks and inform their investment decisions.
- Given the above two, the main barriers (cognisant of general barriers e.g. trust and specific to investment) for investors in incorporating climate risks into decision making.
Fuel and propulsion technology pathways
This theme’s general intent is to work from the existing state of the art in fuels and propulsion technologies, rather than developing new options, as there are seen to be a range of existing and near-term technical options. Current knowledge (and practice) gaps in decarbonisation can be broadly divided into two areas; technical aspects regarding the practicalities of specific fuel and propulsion system technologies; and adoption aspects, regarding the risks and level of understanding and confidence needed to allow financial decision-makers to back a technology. In some cases, these may be the same issue seen through two different “lenses”. The difference between these two lenses is itself a knowledge gap. The main aim of the theme is to bridge that gap and determine how best to describe and characterise the range of fuels and technologies in a manner that is usable by financial decision makers. This is in terms of different decision-making criteria including both emissions and costs, and also risk or robustness against future infrastructure uncertainties. This will involve considerations of the target audience, consisting of both quantitative analysts and more holistic management level decision makers.
Aligning drivers for decarbonisation investment and policy
Dominic Hudson, Shell Professor of Ship Safety and Efficiency, Head of the Fluid Structure Interactions Group, University of Southampton
Osman Turan, Professor, Naval Architecture, Ocean And Marine Engineering, University of Strathclyde
Stavros Karamperidis, Lecturer in Maritime Economics, University of Plymouth
The objective of theme 4’s work is to gain an understanding of:
- Infrastructure adaptation investments that are aligned with decarbonisation investment.
- UK investment in solutions that are aligned with global policy and transitions, without creating UK competitive disadvantage in trade.
- The solutions (e.g. fuels/logistics) that can leverage local government and air quality regulation driven investment in the short term that will have co-benefits for decarbonization in the medium and longer term.
Coupling the evolution of logistics and its infrastructure with decarbonising freight
This theme seeks to interconnect / couple the evolution (both incremental and necessary step change ) of all aspects of UK-centric freight logistics (nodes, links, networks, systems) with the multiplicity of efforts (technological and operational, both current / ongoing and to be proposed) which seek to decarbonise UK freight transport movement. A long-term vision is to envisage the evolution – inspired by but beyond this research network – of an optimised, shared, multi-user, multi-stakeholder, carbon neutral UK logistics network – underpinned by propulsion systems and energy sources for freight movements that are clean, cheap and efficient. The intention is to consider this vision under expectations of projected freight demand reduction, packaging minimisation, and freight weight and volume reduction (miniaturisation and enhanced freight transport efficiency).