ecoENERGY for Alternative Fuels

Overview

Canada’s transportation sector accounts for approximately 25 percent of the nation’s energy use, and the vast majority of this energy (99%) is derived from conventional fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel.  To diversify the energy sources produced for and used in the transportation sector, a concerted effort, led by governments is required.  The increased production capacity, awareness of and use of alternative fuels, such as natural gas, that has a lower carbon-content than conventional fuels and thus emits fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when used as a source of fuel in transportation applications, can contribute to an overall reduction in the GHG footprint of the transportation sector.  In addition to the potential GHG benefits stemming from the use of alternative fuels, their increased use will also create new economic opportunities for fuel suppliers, vehicle and equipment manufacturers and end-users.

There are few options for reducing emissions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles relative to the light-duty portion of the transportation sector.  While medium- and heavy-duty GHG regulations are currently under development for 2014 – this leaves a gap and an opportunity for technologies, such as natural gas, to enter the market place in the interim.  Significant updates to codes and standards for compressed natural gas vehicles, and in the case of liquefied natural gas vehicles, entirely new standards, will need to be established for this to become a reality.  Ensuring users have access to the latest information from a reliable source is also critical.  These two activities were identified in the Natural Gas Use in Transportation Sector Deployment Roadmap* as key areas where governments can play a role in kick-starting the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles in Canada.

* The Natural Gas Roadmap initiative, launched in March 2010, brought together a diverse range of stakeholders from governments, industry, environmental non-governmental organizations and academia.  Facilitated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the process provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the potential for natural gas use across the medium- and heavy-duty transportation sector, explore strategies for overcoming barriers associated with its use, and develop recommendations for deployment.