Car and transport alternatives are a key sustainability issue.
Flagship research into low emissions transport
Energy Transformed Flagship research aims to develop innovations that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector.
7 February 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011
In Australia, the transport sector:
comprises private cars, fleet vehicles, freight and public transport
is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as it is heavily reliant on liquid fuels
is responsible for the fastest-growing proportion of emissions in Australia and around the world, making it vital to address in the endeavour to reduce GHG emissions.
The strategic importance of transportation to the country, to business and the community means that solutions that safeguard the national interest must be found.
The sector is geographically wide spread and is supported by an ever-growing range and breadth of infrastructure.
In addition to the issue of GHG emissions, local oil production is declining and future imported oil dependence is poised to increase and weaken our balance of trade.
Further, road transport comes at a substantial social cost to the community because of the cost of infrastructure, traffic congestion, community health issues and vehicle accidents.
What the Flagship is doing
Recognising the above issues, the transport component of our research is based on the development of advanced vehicle drive technologies and the opportunities for alternative fuels and fuel strategies.
Lowering GHG emissions from transport requires a whole-of-sector approach. This includes socio-political and behavioural changes being addressed via community involvement and ownership.
Our research aims to develop innovations that reduce GHG emissions from the transport sector by:
Australia’s current transport system is vital for economic and social wellbeing but will change dramatically over the next 30 years.
37 per cent by 2020
60 per cent by 2030
80 per cent by 2040.
To meet these targets, we see vehicles evolving from traditional internal combustion engine powered cars through to hybrid (combustion/electric) powered vehicles and, in the long term, possibly to hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles.
To meet the needs of the hybrid-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles of the future, our research aims to develop:
electric drive train systems
energy storage systems, such as supercapacitors and battery technologies
power control systems.
In the near future Australia will have to plan for a decline in local oil supplies, and a future transport fuels scenario will be part of our modelling program.
The Energy Transformed Flagship’s technology development in this area is built on:
There are also activities within CSIRO on new technologies for converting natural gas to liquids. This research addresses the need to consider such options for the overall future transport fuel mix.
Find out more about CSIRO's work in Renewable Energy.