The work of Decarbonising UK Freight Transport is focused around five research themes:
Theme 1: ‘The Role of Data and models for unlocking implementation decision making’
Led by Professor David Cebon of the University of Cambridge, the work of theme 1 will consider questions such as (i) what dynamics are important to capture in models, how carbon pricing and similar decarbonisation policy can be represented, and to what extent are current EPSRC funded data and models sufficient? (ii) what resolution (temporal/spatial) is required to assess investment? (iii) which technology options need to be included in these models and how can technology changes and investments be accurately represented?
Theme 2 ‘Managing uncertainty (macroeconomic, policy and technology) whilst mitigating climate risks in investment decisions’
Led by Dr Julian Allen of the University of Westminster, the work of theme 2 will consider questions such as (i) which metrics are appropriate for quantifying and managing an investment’s climate risk? (ii) how can policy scenarios e.g. of carbon pricing, be converted into financial detail, for estimating the magnitude and nature of investment associated with different pathways? (iii) how can scenarios be used to evaluate robustness, interoperability and pathway dependency opportunities and risks?
Theme 3 ‘Fuel and propulsion technology pathways’
Led by Dr Rachel Pawling of University College London, the work of theme 3 will consider questions such as (i) what do the limits of energy efficiency and onboard renewables/CCS indicate about implementation and investment timescales for new energy/fuels? which components of freight transport are more likely to be electrified (grid/battery), and what is the role of biofuels in UK freight transport’s decarbonisation? (iii) what are the potential synthethic fuels (hydrogen/ammonia/methanol), what are the global trends towards these options, and how will they be produced and distributed for transport use, and intersection of this transport use with other sectors of the economy?
Theme 4 ‘Aligning drivers for decarbonisation investment & policy’
Led by Professor Dominic Hudson of the University of Southampton, the work of theme 4 will consider questions such as (i) how can infrastructure adaptation investments be aligned with decarbonisation investment? (ii) what solutions (fuels/logistics) can leverage local government and air quality regulation drive investment now that has co-benefits for decarbonisation? (iii) how can UK investment in solutions be aligned with global policy and transitions, without creating UK competitive disadvantage in trade?
Theme 5 ‘Coupling the evolution of Logistics and its infrastructure with decarbonisation of freight’
Led by Professor John Mangan of Newcastle University, the work of theme 5 will consider questions such as (i) what are the inter-modal and multi-modal investment opportunities and risks to decarbonisation? (ii) how can autonomy, digitalization and IoT investments and new concepts (e.g. self-thinking supply chains), be aligned with decarbonisation investment? (iii) what are the interactions between freight logistics and the use of new sources of propulsion energy, how will these new sources be sourced distributed and supplied and how can freight be ‘powered’ in locations remote from clean energy networks?