A Future for Diesel Powertrains?

We at Dinex are often faced with the question on how we see the future of the transport sector, in light of the growing focus on electrifying more and more vehicles, within a growing range of applicational areas.

Electrification is a hot topic in the public climate debate, but there is a tendency that we tend to ask a question which is perhaps even more important: “Is Electrification the only right way forward, for a cleaner and more sustainable transport sector?”

That question requires a more complex answer, but we will try to make it simple. At Dinex we don’t believe in one given solution, and see the path towards CO2-neutrality as a combination of different powertrain technologies, all doing what they do best, where they do it best

Even the most state-of-the-art battery technologies today still suffer from very low energy density and long re-charging time. And the energy efficiency rate of the hydrogen life cycle, from electrolysis, compression, distribution, to hydrolysis, is still very low – not to mention the costs of the technology. Finally, both alternative powertrain solutions, suffer from the lack of sufficient renewable electricity, to replace the energy source the world today finds in Diesel fuel.

Diesel-fuels and Natural Gas can already today be produced from renewable sources, which in the process can obtain nearly as much CO2 from the atmosphere, as the vehicle will eventually emit. These so-called Bio-Fuels is a solution that opens up the doors to a circular economy approach, and the technology is already today well proven in operation. It doesn’t require revolutionary new engine technologies, nor a major reformation of the energy distribution network, to reach out to vehicles in even the most distant regions of the world.

“So is bio-fuels the only right solution then?”We at Dinex believe that it’s a very big part of the solution. Electrification and fuel cells are technologies that has obvious potential advantages: Battery-electric vehicles are unmatched for urban application, in countries where the grid electricity is sufficiently sustainable. And in areas where sustainable electricity is available in abundance, Hydrogen Fuel cell vehicles may also be a feasible solution, once the Total Cost is competitive. But neither are feasible as total solutions for both urban, regional, and long-haul transportation, and meanwhile the world’s thirst for energy continues to grow. CO2 neutrality is the ambition, but change does not happen overnight – let’s start the transformation now, and play the cards we have at hand.