Cape Town – South Africa is still catching up to the rest of the world when it comes to renewable energy for transport, according to Carel Snyman, the green transport senior manager at the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi).
Snyman was speaking at a session on eco-mobility and the shift to public transport at the South African International Renewable Energy Conference.
“The idea is still that vehicles need to be powered by oil. I know with new programmes like the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems it is alternative transport. But this does not address alternative energy use,” he said.
Snyman said when it came to burning energy inside an engine you had major losses in terms of heat.
Normal petrol-driven cars were not very fuel-efficient, with 64 percent of the fuel being used up in heat and only 20 percent going into the actual forward motion.
“The change in South Africa is not being pushed as it should be. But this is why I am happy that we have this first session in South Africa that focuses on renewable energy in transport,” he said.
He added that alternative transport using gas and electricity had been discussed with their partners, so the seed to grow renewable energy in transport in South Africa had been planted.
Sustainable Low Carbon Transport secretary general Cornie Huizenga said countries and cities were starting to regulate the use of cars.
“I live in Xinhua in China where since 1998 you need to bid for the right to drive a car,” he told the conference.
Huizenga said a car licence in Xinhua cost between $7 000 and $8 000 (about R105 000), a fee that generated close to a billion dollars a year.
He added that this type of income generated would be especially useful to further develop the BRT system in Cape Town.
Another issue to focus on was how to sustain a model of public transport in countries that were often under pressure.
“(With) public transport there must also be a focus on reducing the environmental footprint and making it as clean as possible,” he said.
Environmentally friendly electric vehicles were being looked at but Huizenga said this was not the only solution.
Transport contributed more than a quarter of CO2 emissions. Huizenga said this proved that more needed to be done around using renewable energy for transport.