In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass the net zero emissions law, this means that we will end our contribution to global warming by 2050. The original target was to create at least an 80% reduction in gas emissions from 1990 levels, this has since upgraded to the aim of being entirely net zero within the next 29 years. The country has already reduced emissions by 42% and has put clean growth at the heart of our modern industrial strategy. According to the Government website, this could see the number of “green-collar jobs” grow to 2 million and the value of exports from the low carbon economy grow to £170 billion a year by 2030.
Net zero means achieving carbon neutrality, which refers to having no carbon dioxide emissions – this is done by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with removal, or simply eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether. But what does a net zero future look like for the logistics industry?
Raising The Bar For Warehousing
When it comes to logistics, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of warehousing space. Crucial to the supply chain, the target of net zero by 2050 will certainly affect how warehouses operate too. Utilising efficient energy sources will be the first step, for example by taking advantage of solar panels for power. Older warehouses can be adapted to meet net zero targets, but the best way to achieve our goals is from the very beginning, by ensuring that any future builds are adept to use resources such as solar and rainwater to replace non-renewable energy options.
With the appetite towards achieving the net zero target increasing, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more smart developers coming out with innovative ways to help the logistics industry achieve its emissions goals. We certainly look forward to being involved in this, here at The Barnes Group.
Looking At Alternative Fuel
According to the Energy Saving Trust, more than 60% of road journeys are by car and almost 80% of all goods that we consume travel across the country in vans and trucks. Of vehicles on the road, around 0.08% are electric, but to achieve net zero by 2050, a phase-out of traditional petrol and diesel vehicles needs to happen soon. If we assume around an average 14-year lifespan, then the production of traditional fuel vehicles will need to cease on or around 2032, meaning by 2050, we will mostly see electric vehicles on the roads. Large operators such as DHL are already trialling electric vehicles to meet their internal targets.
The alternative to electric is renewable fuel. The Low Emissions Freight Trial report from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership tested a range of gas-powered HGVs from different manufacturers, including vehicles using spark ignition and compression ignition technologies. It also looked at the performance of vehicles running on compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas, and their biomethane equivalents. After 12 months of testing, the study found that spark ignition gas trucks achieved well-to-wheel greenhouse gas savings of between 69–81% when fuelled with RTFO-certified biomethane. This saving was found across all cycles including long haul, regional, urban and city centre runs. Not only this, but it was discovered that gas trucks were noticeably quieter to operate than traditional counterparts, which is a bonus when overnight trunking.
Whichever route the UK decides to go down, the logistics industry is well prepared to adapt to change and work towards a greener future for everybody. To let us know your thoughts on our net zero future and what that might mean for logistics, get in touch via Twitter. Or, to read more insights from the warehousing and logistics industry, check out our blog.