Since its beginning, High Tech Campus invested approximately 50 million Euro in a series of sustainable measures. Earlier, we wrote about fifty charging points for electrical cars on campus. Now, Philip de Goey, Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, explains that electric cars might seem like sustainable transport but it is still too early to forget about cars with a combustion engine.

De Goey is involved in research that should reduce NOx, CO2 and soot emission of fuels. Which is showing its first results. Producing a colder ingnition flame and mixing it up in the combustion engine more efficiently is the next step in the pursuit of a model that reduces pollution to almost zero.

At first sight, the electrical car seems to be a good sollution to the pollution problem. According to de Goey however, it is still facing some sustainable challenges. “It’s important to think about the way the electricity that powers these cars is generated.”

The way politicians talk about this topic makes me mad, they only tell half the story.

Tesla
Currently, that mostly happens in one out of twelve Dutch coal power plants. During that process, a large amouns of CO2 is released into the air. “Therefore, I think someone who is driving a Tesla, is responsible for a larger ecological footprint than someone that is driving a regular diesel car.”

De Goey strongly opposes the idea of diminishing emission by reducing the amount of petrol fueled cars. “That can only work if we figure out a way to produce clean energy. As long as we don’t start using a way to generate power in a sustainable fashion on a large scale the electric car is not a sollution.”

Politics
“The way politicians talk about this topic makes me mad. They only tell half the story, that of the electric car being a clean way of transport”, he says. “I can’t imagine them not knowing that generating the power that’s needed for the cars still is a polluting business. But its popular to push the electric car.”

Philip de Goey, fotobron: High Tech Campus Eindhoven
Philip de Goey, fotobron: High Tech Campus Eindhoven

Yet, the government should be an important guide on the way to a society that uses sustainable transport. “This has happened in the last twenty years.  Government regulation on emission has forced industries to be less polluting. That played a big part in bringing down the emission to five percent of what we had in 1996.”

“The fuel-market is dominated by giants. They have their own markets and interests, which doesn’t make innovation a top priority. And apparently it’s quite possible to meet current emmision regulation by using current fuels. Which doesn’t make innovation a required activity for fuel industries. Stricter regulation should change that”, de Goey says.

Money and legislation
In the next years, de Goey and TU/e  will start working on a demonstration model for their own idea of clean combustion: using metals such as iron powder as fuel for cars. “We have found out that emission while using metals is close to none. We are trying to produce a car that shows the industry that this concept works.”

“Global transport industries are stimulated by money and legislation”, according to de Goey. “Only if it becomes more interesting to generate power in a sustainable fashion on a large scale, the electric car can live up to its potential of being the clean way of transport that it no pretends to be.”

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