With calamities growing in both number and intensity, simply reducing carbon emissions is no longer enough. The new goal countries and sectors should start aiming for is 'net-zero'. The latest buzzword in the realm of climate action, 'net-zero' is considered by scientists as the key to keeping much of the world safe from the perilous impacts of climate change.
With this in mind, a lot of industries are trying their hardest to work towards a zero-emission future — and trucking is not exempt. Since transportation alone accounts for about 28% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, the sector is keen on taking concrete steps towards a future free of emissions. So, here are some of the ways trucking companies are trying to do their part in achieving the 'net-zero' target:
Committing to electric vehicles
An average diesel truck consumes some 20,500 gallons of fuel annually, which translates to approximately 479,290lbs of carbon emissions. And with over two million trucks on US roads, you can only imagine how immense the trucking industry’s contribution to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions is. This is the reason why more and more trucking businesses are committing to electric vehicles (EVs) that produce zero direct emissions. Normally, it takes a lot of electricity to make a truck move, but newer printed circuit boards (PCBs) are aiming to solve that problem. After all, modern PCB designs start with power nets — a component that manages current flow.
EVs have an increased number of nets, which manufacturers use to create more elaborate circuit designs. These complex architectures move big trucks by cleverly managing and monitoring the high-powered battery pack each EV has. Although the federal government is still yet to take steps regarding the electrification of the US trucking industry, a number of states are already going out of their way to assist trucking businesses. For instance, the California Air Resources Board has invested $45 million to innovate electric transportation, as well as to promote zero-emissions technologies.
Using hydrogen fuel cells
Trucking businesses can also rely on hydrogen fuel cells to attain a zero-emissions future. Hydrogen fuel cells power vehicles by producing electricity through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The process only emits water and heat as its by-products, so trucks running on hydrogen fuel cells also produce zero direct emissions. Unlike EVs, hydrogen fuel cells will never lose their charge as long as there is a constant supply of hydrogen.
Luckily, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world and can be collected in a variety of sustainable ways. These methods include steam reforming, electrolysis, and biomass. Recently, the Department of Energy announced their plans to invest $100 million (to be spread out across five years) on the research for hydrogen-powered trucks that are heavy-duty.
Working with the right manufacturers
Aside from committing to EVs and using hydrogen fuel cells, trucking businesses have also been working with manufacturers that are aiming for a zero-emission future.
These companies include Tesla, Volvo, and Daimler AG. This year, Tesla is expected to produce the electric Class-8 Semi truck that will come in 300-mile-range and 500-mile-range models. Volvo recently launched its zero-emission truck, the VNR Electric, and is currently participating in multiple studies regarding electric trucks. On the other hand, Daimler AG is now launching its Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 truck, another 100% battery-electric truck.
The road to a zero-emission future may be a long and challenging one, but it is more than attainable — especially with the help of industries and companies that are focused on using the right innovations such as EVs and hydrogen fuel cells.