After many years of popularity, diesel is today at the heart of the debate on environmental challenges and public health. Responsible for CO2 emissions, the fuel is a major contributor to global warming. It pollutes on a local level, releasing nitrogen oxide and fine particules, both of which are harmful. Its use maintains our dependence on fossil fuels. And finally, it is also the cause of a more insidious pollution, that is noise pollution. According to the World Health Organisation, traffic noise may be a cause for some serious mental illnesses. That is why it is crucial to limit the use of fossil fuels and diesel, in particular. This challenge is supported by the continued development of environmental norms that impose emission ceilings across the world (Euro VI in Europe for instance) and encourage the development of diesel alternatives.
Among the current solutions, the most obvious is alternative fuel. HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils, hydrocarbon manufactured by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils) is a direct substitute for diesel. Natural gas, once compressed, can also be used as fuel (GNC). The use of hybrid engines (combustion engine and electric motor) drastically reduces fuel consumption and thus the emission of pollutants.
Finally the most radical solution is 100% electrical mobility, made possible with embedded batteries. Buses using fuel cells are also being developed. Hydrogen generating electricity power the vehicle’s electric engines.