How cars, lorries, buses, trains and ships can gradually become climate neutral.

North Rhine-Westphalia is the most densely populated state in Germany and is a key hub for the logistics sector – meaning correspondingly high volumes of traffic. Climate neutrality can therefore only be achieved if a transformation of the transport sector is successful.

The transport sector in North Rhine-Westphalia emits more than 30 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year (2019). This corresponds to a 14-per-cent share, which means the sector is the next-greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the energy and industrial sectors in North Rhine-Westphalia. Making mobility and transport sustainable in a short space of time is therefore one of the greatest challenges of this century and decarbonising transport is crucially important in this respect. In other words: cars, lorries, buses, trains, etc. must produce fewer emissions than previously. To do this, the use of fossil fuels has to be reduced substantially. This is already currently possible thanks to electricity, hydrogen and synthetic fuels, which are produced from renewable energy, and biogenic fuels. These climate-neutral fuels must, however, be used more widely than they have been in the past.


The transition in the transport sector in NRW must be implemented by 2030

German and European climate targets can only be achieved if the transport sector undergoes a transformation. In specific terms, in German climate legislation the reduction of carbon emissions from transport has been set at 48 per cent by 2030 as compared to 1990. The German transport sector would thereby still be allowed to emit 85 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents. The North Rhine-Westphalia transport sector’s share would be just slightly less than 19 million tonnes.

Potential for reduction by 2030

Achieving these targets by 2030 is a tremendous challenge. There are, however, sufficient opportunities to reduce emissions. The “Nationale Plattform Zukunft der Mobilität (NPM)” [National Platform for the Future of Transport] identifies the following areas of reduction potential by 2030:

  1. Change of drive for cars and lorries: reduction potential of 36 to 41 per cent
  2. Increased efficiency in cars and lorries: 25 to 37 per cent
  3. Use of renewable fuel: 0 to 15 per cent
  4. Increased use of rail passenger transport, buses, bicycles and pedestrian transport: 8 to 11 per cent
  5. Increased transport of goods by rail and inland waterways: 4 to 5 per cent
  6. Digitalisation: 7 to 11 per cent


Climate-friendly drives and fuel

In order to achieve the climate goals, NRW will therefore rely on converting vehicles to emission-free drives and fuel.

  • In the case of cars and light commercial vehicles, this means battery-powered electric vehicles for the most part: the market and production ramp-up for this already exists.
  • In the case of the heavy-goods sector, however, such as ships, buses and trains, there are various options depending on the application. Not just battery-powered drives but also hydrogen fuel cells, overhead cables and climate-friendly fuel could decarbonise the heavy goods sector.

However, it is only with the appropriate vehicles and a comprehensive and user-friendly charging and re-fuelling infrastructure that these technologies will be successful. NRW.Energy4Climate therefore also provides support in particular for companies and municipalities in this field.

We look forward to hearing from you!

You can reach us on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We are, however, experiencing occasional technical issues at the moment. Thank you for your understanding.

+49 211 822 086-555

Send e-mail