Monday morning five experts from three countries came together at the World Renewable Energy Forum to kick-off the Energy Generation, Distribution, & Transportation track. In a session exploring the Opportunities for Renewables in the Transportation Sector, they shared visions and research findings for a transportation system powered by the sun and other renewables.
According to the EPA, transportation sources contributed approximately 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation is also the fastest-growing source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 47% of the net increase in total U.S. emissions since 1990. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum dependence in the transportation sector will be a critical component of our national and global strategies to address climate change and reduce dependence on imported oil.
The panelists presented different visions of what this future could look like. Rob Swenson from the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation shared his vision for the The Pod Car City, a transportation system utilizing small, shared vehicles that are 100% powered by the sun. Both Takaki Kameya from Tokyo University of Technology, Japan and Syed Husain Imran Jaffery from the National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan presented research findings for solar powered urban rail networks. Kari Burman from NREL shared the role of alternative vehicles, including hydrogen-powered vehicles, as part of a net zero project on a military base in Hawaii. To conclude the presentation section of the session, Austin Brown presented a joint study conducted by NREL, the DOE, and the Argonne National Laboratory focused on under explored greenhouse-gas abatement and oil-savings opportunities related to transportation.
The possibilities presented in this session for incorporating renewables into the transportation sector demonstrate the variety of exciting avenues for cities to explore. Whether the the future is solar powered trains or hydrogen powered cars or a variety of technologies, the potential exists for our transportation system to run entirely on clean energy.