Innovation: Technology Opportunities And Strategies Towards Climate-Friendly Transport

Last update: 14.07.2013
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work study, techno-economic analysis, industrial manufacture, greenhouse gas emissions, transport, pollution, method, transportation, environmental protection, climate change
The EU has committed to reducing GHG emissions by at least 20% based upon the 1990 level by 2020 and further reductions are expected beyond that timeframe. However, realizing this and subsequent targets may become increasingly challenging, given the past growth and future projections of transportation GHG emissions. The proposed activity enables the EU to obtain a better strategic perspective as to what contribution future transportation technologies and fuels could make to reduce GHG emissions.

The project presented here assesses the technical feasibility, economic affordability, and social acceptability of technology policies that would lead toward a lower climate-impact transport system within the EU under different scenario conditions. The project is organized around three major workshops, which include important stakeholders from academia, industry, government, NGOs, and key participants from relevant existing and former EU projects. In order to enable informed and focused discussions at each workshop, participants are provided with supporting studies well before each workshop.

The workshops and supporting studies cover:
(1) a techno-economic assessment of major transport modes (automobiles, buses, trucks, aircraft and railways) and of alternative transportation fuels for reducing GHG emissions;
(2) an integration of these technologies in scenarios of European transportation futures; and
(3) an estimate of the penetration of future low-GHG emission technologies and fuels for promising policies under the different scenario conditions, along with an assessment of the societal implications of these policies.


The TOSCA project's main objective is to identify the most promising technology and fuel pathways that could help reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions both over the short term (2020) and beyond (2050).

To better understand the policy interventions that are necessary to push (potentially expensive) technologies and fuels into the market, a further objective is to assess the penetration of these options under different future scenario and policy conditions. These scenario outputs are then evaluated with regard to their technical feasibility, economic affordability, and overall likelihood of realisation. TOSCA operates on a total transport sector basis, with work packages devoted to road traffic, aircraft, shipping, rail traffic, infrastructure capacity and fuels, as well as scenarios and policies.
In a first step, a technoeconomic analysis of major transport modes and fuels was conducted. The starting point was a set of reference technologies, representing the respective average new technology in place within the EC-27 States today. Against this baseline, the fuel efficiency improvement potential and associated costs of future technologies were evaluated. Careful consideration was given to potential constraints and tradeoffs. To fully explore the technological potential for reducing GHG emissions, the opportunities for using alternative fuels and the associated costs were also explored.

In addition, this analysis evaluated the level of Research and development (R&D) required to achieve technology readiness, the expected point in time when technology readiness will be achieved, and several social and user related acceptability metrics, ranging from direct negative impacts such as higher levels of noise to positive ones such as the generation of jobs within the EC. Many of the inputs into these reports were derived from expert surveys, which were conducted by the respective WP 1-5 teams. The range of systems studied included road and marine vehicles (WP1), aircraft (WP2), railways (WP3), transportation fuels (WP4), and Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and infrastructures (WP5).

In a second step, the technology, fuel, and infrastructure studies carried out in WPs1-5 were integrated through a scenario and modelling analysis. After a systematic review of existing European transport scenarios, a set of scenario variables that affect future passenger and freight transport demand was identified. These were then used to formulate four distinct scenarios (three detailed scenarios and one sensitivity case) that describe the future levels of passenger and freight transport demand. To ensure reproducibility of the outcomes, transport demand for each scenario was modelled using the EC TRANSTOOLS model, under the assumption of no new policies. Due to the limitations of TRANSTOOLS, the model runs were complemented with other models such as the Aviation integrated model (AIM). To obtain the required size and composition of the vehicle fleet along with the resulting emission levels, the TRANSTOOLS and AIM derived transportation demand (in passenger- and ton-km) were translated into vehicle-km, using vehicle stock models. The market penetration of new technologies and fuels was estimated based on their cost-effectiveness and other scenario conditions. The resulting EC-27 transport emissions were estimated by scenario, and sensitivity tests carried out to assess the robustness of these results.

In a third step, a set of transport policy measures that aim to mitigate these emissions was evaluated. A summary table describes policy measures in terms of relevant dimensions such as economic efficiency, consumer acceptance, transparency, time to impact and equity. These indicators, in combination with the user and social acceptability metrics developed for each of the technologies in WPs 1-5, and the resulting level of CO2 emission reduction were then used to evaluate the effectiveness, affordability and acceptability of policy outcomes. In each policy case, the dominant technology / fuel pathways from WP1-5, and the resulting emissions were identified. The feasibility, affordability, and acceptability and likelihood of realisation of each policy case were assessed, and sensitivity tests to assess pathway robustness were carried out.

Given the major policy decisions that were at stake, this project was guided by an advisory board and received significant additional input from academics, industry, trade associations, policy makers, Non-governmental organisation (NGO)s, and key participants from relevant existing and former European Union (EU) projects. A series of workshops, in which these communities were able to interact, played a significant role. To allow an informed discussion, these workshops were supported by focused studies on state-of-the-art technology for transport vehicles, fuels, and infrastructures and their possible future development, on alternative scenarios on future socioeconomic development and transport demand in Europe, and on the integration of these components.
TOSCAs technoeconomic assessment suggests that energy use per unit passenger-km or ton-km can be reduced by 30-50 % for most transport modes using technologies that could become available during the 2020s, compared to the average new technology in place today; natural fleet turnover would then translate these new vehicle-based reductions into the entire fleet by mid-century.

The only exception to these opportunities are state-of-the-art medium and heavy-duty trucks, which are already comparatively close to the technological fuel efficiency limit and thus offer a lower potential for reducing energy use. In addition, ITS could reduce energy use by another 5-20 %, depending on the transportation mode. And these reductions in CO2 emissions can be further complemented by second generation biofuels and electricity from low carbon sources. A more electricity-based transport system also offers ancillary benefits in terms of reduced energy import dependence.

However, exploiting the potential of these opportunities requires policy intervention. Many of the critical automobile, narrow-body aircraft, and (some) ITS technologies and second generation biofuels rely on substantial (EU-wide) R&D investments in order to be produced at large, commercial scale. In addition, a carbon price of around ?150 per ton of CO2 would be required for the proposed narrow-body aircraft technologies to become cost-effective and this price would need to be more than twice for advanced automobile technologies, unless the new technologies are regulated into the market. Moreover, industry would need to be encouraged to make the capital-intensive investments to manufacture these technologies and fuels. Realising these opportunities thus requires predictable market conditions that need to be ensured by technology and climate policy. Realising these opportunities also requires society to prioritise climate change mitigation over other needs, as these policy interventions will lead to additional public expenditures (and thus to higher taxes or cuts in other government budgets at times of a public finance crisis) and / or to higher prices and thus decreased mobility.

Importantly, given the continuous growth in transportation demand, even assuming very optimistic adoption levels of promising technologies and fuels, it is unlikely that EC-27 transport sector lifecycle GHG emissions can be reduced to significantly below 2010 levels by 2050, unless affordable and vast amounts of low-carbon biofuels and electricity can be supplied. Hence, it appears that technological measures alone cannot produce large enough reductions in transport GHG emissions to be compatible with EU climate goals, at least by 2050. The question then is better understanding the potential for behavioural measures to mitigate transport sector GHG emissions, which include reducing the need for transport and shifts toward low-emission modes.

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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Technology Opportunities And Strategies Towards Climate-Friendly Transport


01.08.2009 to 31.03.2011

completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.


(United Kingdom)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Dr. SCHAFER Andreas


Phone: +44-1223760129




Contact person: Prof. KALTSCHMITT Martin


Phone: +49-341-2434113




Contact person: Dr. RAHMAN Adnan


Phone: +31-104538800




Contact person: Prof. BOULOUCHOS Konstantinos


Phone: +41-446325648




Contact person: Ms. HANSEN Ann-britt


Phone: +46-87907521




Contact person: Ms. MERTZELOU Gerogia


Phone: +30-2107721348




Contact person: Ms. WALTHERT Irene

Phone: +41-563102664