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Transport and sustainability
Transport and sustainability

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Transport and sustainability


This free course explores transport and the issues of sustainability. Transport plays a critical part of most people's life but it also creates complex issues for sustainability. You will first investigate the concerns with respect to the use of transport energy, which here mainly concentrates upon road transport vehicles. There is then a detailed consideration of road transport technologies, starting with the established technologies of petrol and diesel, before moving on to explore how these can be made more sustainable. This includes a short overview of petrol and diesel engines and how they work. Finally, you will look at the question of how to achieve a move to radically cleaner transport technologies and transport systems for a low-carbon future.

Table 1 provides an overview of the content of this free course.

Table 1 course Overview
SectionContentWhat to look out for
IntroductionIntroduction to the free course
1 The transport energy challengeThe important role that energy security and shortages play in determining transport policyDifferent countries have different needs for transport energy
2 Transport's environmental impactsA consideration of both direct and indirect impacts, focusing on CO2 in the UK from all sourcesThe differences in energy and emissions due to the transport sector
3 Petrol and diesel enginesA recap of why diesel engines and fuels have slightly higher energy efficiency than petrol systemsThe growing penetration of diesel into the vehicle market – and how the market continues to change
4 Petrol and diesel emissionsTypical emissions of each vehicle under real-world conditions; how different technologies lead to lower impactsHow the total life-cycle emissions for a vehicle are dependent on each stage of the life of a car
5 Cleaner conventional car technologiesHow hybrid technologies can help to reduce the overall fuel consumption of a vehicleThe limitations of hybrid systems and the variety available to most consumers
6 Lower-carbon fuelsAn overview of CNG, LPG and biofuel systems for personal carsSubtle differences between the various generations of biofuels
7 Electric vehiclesInformation on pure electric vehicles, 'plug-in' hybrids and fuel-cell powered vehiclesThe fact that any type of new technology (fuel or battery) requires an abundant supply system to fully establish those vehicles
8 Decarbonized transportAn explanation of the decarbonized pathways towards various transport scenariosThe lowest possible tailpipe emissions; the various life-cycle emissions that each technology accrues
ReviewA brief summary of this free course

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T213 Energy and Sustainability [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .