On this episode of Net-Zero Carbon, Danny Gomez, managing director of financial and emerging markets at FreightWaves, sits down with Erik Neandross, CEO of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, to discuss emissions-reduction strategies for fleets.
A previous NZC episode dove into why measuring greenhouse gas emissions is a critical first step on the path to net-zero. Neandross and Gomez talk about the steps a company should take once it is accurately measuring emissions.
“Once we can understand and we can measure where those emissions are coming from, we can then start to make assessments to see how and where we can make improvements,” Neandross said.
He said using natural gas, specifically renewable natural gas (RNG), renewable diesel and electric batteries to power fleets can help companies reduce emissions today, without breaking the bank.
“We have to look at economic sustainability and then environmental sustainability. They have to go in that order for the customers that we work with,” Neandross said.
The total cost of ownership for alternative fuels and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) has to make sense for fleets, Neandross said. That’s why different types of low-carbon fuels and ZEVs may be suitable for different situations.
“There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution in today’s market. … So the question is, ‘Which is right for me?’”
Potential emissions-reduction solutions for fleets
Neandross said that EVs are made for the last mile and regional deliveries. Electrification technology for long-haul trucking is receiving “off-the-charts” investment, but it’s “not there yet,” he said.
“One hundred percent of CNG that’s fueling vehicles in California today is RNG that has a carbon footprint that is below zero,” Neandross said.
He said RNG is a great way to drastically reduce carbon emissions and works well for long-haul trucking where EVs have yet to make headway. Renewable diesel doesn’t reduce GHG emissions as much as RNG. But renewable diesel can lower emissions by 60% to 75% compared to conventional diesel, and it’s a drop-in fuel.
“This technology is still very expensive,” Neandross said. “Grants, incentives, tax deductions, all of those buy-down opportunities are really critical, and that’s a big part of what we do to bring that plan together.”
Neandross and Gomez also discussed the decarbonization potential associated with fuel cells and autonomy but agreed that these technologies won’t be market-ready overnight.
“There’s still a lot of efficiency gains to be had” with these newer technologies, Gomez said.
The recommended path forward
Large companies are making big statements and commitments with net-zero targets, and they often have no idea how they will decarbonize their transportation, Neandross said.
He recommended measuring GHG emissions and going through the fleet to figure out which solutions are the most economical, environmentally friendly and technologically feasible for different use cases before releasing a public goal.