The environmental footprint of transport by car using renewable energy

31 January 2020
Sustainable development
Environmental footprint
Renewable energy
Environmental assessment
Holmatov B & Hoekstra AY

Holmatov B & Hoekstra AY (2020), 'The environmental footprint of transport by car using renewable energy', Earth's Future, 8, e2019EF001428.

Open access: This is a gold open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License and has been deposited on Zenodo

Abstract: Replacing fossil fuels in the transport sector by renewable energy will help combat climate change. However, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by switching to alternative fuels or electricity can come at the expense of land and water resources. To understand the scale of this possible tradeoff we compare and contrast carbon, land and water footprints per driven km in midsize cars utilizing conventional gasoline, biofuels, bioelectricity, solar electricity and solar‐based hydrogen. Results show that solar‐powered electric cars have the smallest environmental footprints per km, followed by solar‐based hydrogen cars, and that biofuel‐driven cars have the largest footprints.

This article has been featured on the climate blog One Blue World, in the Carbon Brief (of 03/02/2020), and in the  Anthropocene Magazine.