Believe it or not, May is just around the corner! The Transportation Energy Institute (TEI) is already well into planning its annual conference, to be held at the Minneapolis Loews on May 13-15, 2024. The theme of this year’s conference is “Innovation for Sustainable Transportation.”
The agenda encompasses all aspects of transportation energy. Here are the topics TEI will be exploring (subject to change):
A Data-Centric Perspective on the Light Duty Vehicle Transition
Industry observers recognize the volatility in headlines and corporate announcements regarding the pace of the light duty market’s transition to electric powertrains. The up and down sentiments surrounding this sector can lead to rash assumptions, misplaced investments, poorly advised policies and dysfunctional market developments. What is really going on and what should we expect going forward? This session will present a dispassionate analysis of the light duty vehicle market, help set realistic expectations for vehicle manufacturing plans and help level set where the market is heading and how quickly it might arrive there.
Transitioning Fleets to Zero Carbon
In the quest for reducing and eliminating vehicle-related emissions, fleets may represent the best opportunity for rapid transition since fleet managers are less fickle than typical light duty vehicle customers – it comes down to return on investment, not emotion. At the same time, the fleet market presents a host of challenges not presented by light duty vehicles while also boasting more options to satisfy different use cases and duty cycles. This panel will evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with reducing emissions from fleet vehicles in the most economically sustainable way.
Building a Viable EV Charging Network
The pace of the EV transition is contingent upon a variety of factors and chief among them is the need for a reliable and ubiquitous public recharging network. Government grants have been authorized to expedite the development of this network, but ultimately it will fall on businesses to invest their own resources into charging station operations, and this will require a viable return on that investment. What are the factors that will affect that return and how might business owners best evaluate the opportunities associated with serving the EV community? This session will explore these factors, how they can be monitored and measured and what business owners should consider when investing in a charging station.
Electricity Reliability in an Increasingly Electrified World
The expansion of electric vehicles carries with it increased reliance on the electricity generation and transmissions industry, yet this is not the only sector increasing its demand for kilowatt hours. As competition and expedited demand for electricity increase, what are the solutions and potential opportunities afforded to industry to improve access and control costs? How are utility commissions and state and federal agencies paving the way for a future grid that can meet demand while reducing emissions? How will the industry accommodate this potential surge in demand in the near future while ensuring the continued availability of power for transportation when and where drivers need it?
Future of Low Carbon Fuel Standards
A TEI study in 2021 found that 73% of life cycle emission from ICE vehicles comes from the fuel combustion cycle. In addition, 72% of EV emissions come from the generation of electricity. While regulations requiring certain power trains have gained traction in some jurisdictions, reducing the carbon intensity of the energy consumed by vehicles is a critical component to achieving meaningful reductions in emissions. This session will evaluate the success of existing low carbon fuel standard programs, explore the potential expansion of such programs to additional and larger jurisdictions and discuss the opportunities and challenges such programs present to the market.
Biofuels – The Near-Term Solution?
If reducing the carbon intensity of fuels is a critical element to achieving meaningful emissions reductions, the role of biofuels must not be overlooked. How the market leverages the lower carbon intensity of ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel will be critical, as will the ability of the biofuels sector to further lower the carbon intensity of their fuel products. There remain concerns about feedstock availability, especially with the increased focus on sustainable aviation fuels, and there remains lingering concerns about the impact of biofuels production on other sectors, such as food supplies and prices. This session will dive deep into the real impact of biofuels on the transportation sector and ancillary markets, the potential for expanding the use of such fuels and the trajectory for further reducing associated life cycle carbon emissions.
Carbon Capture – Real Opportunity or Sleight of Hand?
When we think about reducing life cycle emissions, one of the key opportunities for all sectors is to capture the carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere at different stages of production. A 2023 TEI study found carbon capture and sequestration could dramatically reduce overall carbon emissions from fuel production, but there remain some who question the efficacy of the technology, stand against the construction of carbon pipelines and wonder what we will do with the captured carbon. This session will take an objective look at the opportunities and challenges associated with carbon capture technology, discuss who is doing what, where and when, and explore what the future role of this process might look like.
What’s Next? The Viability of Long-Term Solutions
With a global objective to reach zero carbon emissions from transportation, options beyond current and traditional energy will be required. With a current global fleet of 1.5 billon ICE vehicles on the road today, all solutions will be necessary. Solutions that appeared impractical in the past are quickly being revisited. Energy solutions like H2 (for fuel cells and ICE vehicles), renewable natural gas, pyrolysis produced fuels and e-fuels have been floated as potential long-term solutions for our transportation needs. What is the viability of these options, how long before they become commercially viable (if not already), what is their market potential and what policies might be required to support their contribution to the overall objective?
Who is Driving and Why?
Delivering vehicle and energy solutions that satisfy consumer demand requires understanding what that consumer needs and why. Several years ago, many were claiming the future would be dominated by ACES – autonomous, connected, electric vehicles as service – and personally owned vehicles would fade out of the market. Several years ago, many were claiming the end of the car culture and pointing to the delay in young drivers getting their licenses as evidence that the market was ready for something new. What is the nature of the driver today? Are those projections still accurate, or have consumers again shifted with regards to their driving behavior?
Transportation Equity – Leave No Driver Behind
The transition to lower emissions vehicles and energy must ensure that all communities are afforded the opportunity to participate and benefit from enacted solutions. There are many communities in North America and throughout the world who may be left behind if their unique market conditions are not taken into account when developing transition strategies. What are the key factors that must be considered when pursuing low emissions options to protect the interests of low income, rural, tribal and other underserved communities? This session will take a look at these issues and discuss how we protect the interests of people while we seek to improve the environment in which they live.
Register now for the conference of the year for unbiased research and dialogue with key stakeholders in the energy sector that will reimagine the transportation industry.