Traction Decarbonisation

Traction Decarbonisation

Despite being good - Rail must do better

Whilst being one of the most energy efficient methods of transporting freight and passengers, the emissions from traction power remain significant.

As other transport sectors decarbonise their transport by adopting alternative power sources, rail traction has been historically much slower to evolve, in part due to its much longer lifespan.

Car CO2 emissions have been cut by approximately two thirds when comparing electric vs fossil fuelled vehicles, coming uncomfortably close to emissions from UK national rail infrastructure largely due to its diesel traction bias. However there is light at the end of the tunnel - we can clearly see the potential improvements moving to low carbon intensity traction power can give such as that shown by Eurostar - An electric train powered from a low-carbon grid - although of course there is still room to improve. 
 

There are many avenues to improving the carbon performance of rail traction and the article below "On-Track for Carbon-free rail traction" explores a few of the options open to networks looking to implement carbon reductions by utilising smarter traction electrification via conventional and hybrid means.


It is fair to say that are significant differences in the pace of implementation of traction decarbonisation around the globe. Whilst the UK has recently released its own traction decarbonisation plan (July 2021), other countries and regions such as the Netherlands already implementing their commitments to zero carbon traction with new vehicle purchases shortly to begin local testing

If you would like to know what our decarbonisation expert really thinks about the UK traction decarbonisation policy then read his opinion blog here

We would love accompany you on your decarbonisation journey, so get in touch via the form on the right and see how we can help put you on the right track.