Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pollution Could Rise Due to Electric Car Boom in Europe

A boom in electric cars means Europe would have to look at building the equivalent of nearly 50 power stations the size of the UK’s planned Hinkley Point nuclear plant, EU experts have warned. And if big fleets of plug-in cars are charged with electricity from power plants burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, overall levels of SO2 air pollution are likely to rise, a study from the government-funded European Environment Agency shows. Read the full article @ Financial Times

Cars that run on batteries are widely regarded as an unalloyed environmental blessing compared with dirtier, smellier petrol or diesel vehicles and the new research confirms that a big shift to plug-in transport offers many benefits. On average, there would be a noticeable fall in emissions of some types of air pollution, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities.

If the vehicles reach an 80 per cent share by 2050, the EEA study found this would require an extra 150 gigawatts of electricity for charging. The amount of electricity generated by clean renewable power plants has risen significantly across the EU since 1990, according to EU data that show wind, solar and hydropower accounted for 25 per cent of the bloc’s electricity in 2014. Nuclear power plants contributed 27 per cent but nearly 48 per cent still came from coal, natural gas and oil. The EEA study builds on work by the agency showing that if coal power alone were used to charge electric cars, the vehicles’ lifetime carbon emissions would be higher than that of petrol or diesel counterparts. Air pollution experts said the agency’s findings underlined the need for countries to consider carefully how to generate greener electricity as plug-in car numbers grow.

No comments: