RENEWABLE ENERGIES – A KEY FACTOR IN BEING GREEN

A conference and themed seminars, Friday 20 March 2020 at Green Logistics Expo. Including a focus on nuclear energy

It all revolves around a few figures and it is a revolution. The first is 2, written as a subscript to a chemical formula indicate the number of oxygen atoms linked to one carbon atom to form carbon dioxide. The second number is 37.5%, the level of CO2 imposed by the European Union on the car industry which must go from today’s 95 grams per kilometre to 59.4 grams by 2030 (the third number).

Challenging and perhaps prohibitive numbers. But these are the objectives the international car and transport industry are tackling, using various strategies.

Transport is, in fact, one of the mandatory objectives in the great energy transition and an area where Italy is struggling to achieve its objectives (10% renewable energy by 2020, when we are still only just above 7%), “reflecting an industry and consumption pattern still waiting for a leap into the future”.

The industry is currently working on a wide variety of measures and strategies. First and foremost, the transition to electric, working on the numerous critical aspects involved.

Research covers the “re-design” of both vehicles and infrastructure. According to a study by Politecnico di Milano, for cars and commercial vehicles, the transition to electric energy and establishment of new mobility models such as sharing and self-driving cars are today just a matter of time.

Industrial vehicles are quite another story, where some suggest “skipping” the electric phase to pass directly to hydrogen, accompanying reconversion to the ever more frequently used LNG, (Liquefied Natural Gas). Intermodality (in other words, less “road” and more “rail”) is the most rapid and efficient way to speed up an increase in the use of renewable energies, including in terms of congestion, and therefore the reference model.

Intense experimentation in infrastructure is also underway, with the hypothesis of using electricity for industrial vehicles. Sweden leads the European classification, followed by Germany. The hi-tech motorway with electricity provided by both aerial means via pantographs on industrial vehicles and from the ground with induction plates. Experimentation on the pantograph technique by both Volkswagen and Scania is attracting great interest. The A1 near Lübeck, A5 near Frankfurt and B462 Federal Highway in Baden-Württemberg have been electrified. In Italy an experiment is underway involving the Brebemi A3 motorway between Brescia and Milan for a length of 6 kilometres.

Italy’s performance in the production of electricity from renewable sources is better than on the transport front. With 34%, Italy has already exceeded the European objectives of 26.4% for 2020.

And nuclear energy? Production in European Union countries has been largely stable in the last thirty years, with France and to a lesser extent Germany and the UK leading the field. This involves the well-known nuclear fission. And fusion? Is the clean energy dream still alive?

With the Sparc experiment being carried out by the Rfx consortium consisting of Padua University, CNR, ENEA, Infn and Acciaierie Venete Spa and backed by ENI, Padua is making a fundamental contribution to “ITER” (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), the most advanced international nuclear fusion research project, in construction in the south of France. Green Logistics Expo is focussing not on the energy of today, but on the cutting edge of advanced research.

These are just some of the aspects of alternative or renewable energies to be tackled at Green Logistics Expo. An entire day will be dedicated to this complex theme on Friday 20 March.

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