11 Oct 18

Reducing Smog saves Lives and Money

€183 billion can be saved in the EU by adopting innovative smog-reduction technologies by 2025. As a matter of fact, transport is one of the key sectors where these innovations have to be applied. 

Smog losses

The Clean Air Challenge report answers to the European Commission’s concern that smog will cost the EU-28 on average €475 billion between 2018 and 2025, due to premature deaths, rising healthcare bills, protracted illnesses, lower on-the-job productivity, and absences. Air pollution causes 400,000 premature deaths a year in the EU; or 1 to 10 premature deaths in the world. Moreover, most of Western European smog comes from transportation. 

Smog solutions

Europe already has some air quality measures in place, but they are not fast, nor ambitious enough. Therefore, InnoEnergy, Europe’s sustainable energy engine supported by the EIT, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and Deloitte, present additional practical solutions to reduce smog and improve public health. 

Overall, the various presented scenarios all involve transparent, planned, and well-managed cooperation between the private sector and public authorities, directed towards boosting innovation in the transport and heating sectors. Even in the least ambitious scenario, all these measures together could save the EU €183 billion between 2018 and 2025. 

Smog free transport

Electric mobility and smart public transport systems are two key areas related to transport that could clean up the air, besides smart buildings and distributed generation and storage. The report pleads for alternative transport as ‘being at least partially powered by more environmentally-friendly solutions, and in terms of road vehicles this group includes both different types of EVs, as well as vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) or biogas’.

Economies of scale, and technological improvements will have to drive initial costs down and make alternative fuel vehicles cost competitive with traditional ICE. Currently two main trends are already on the rise to de-smog transportation: electrification of transportation (from EVs to electric boats), and adaptation of the traditional means of transport, such as high-tech buses. 

Smog Free for dummies

The report suggests key strategies to go smog free in the electric mobility transportation cluster: (1) increase public-private cooperations, (2) increase public awareness to create public acceptance of the measures taken, (3) create a better ecosystem for electromobility by investing in development of electromobility infrastructure (such as interconnected charging networks, and multiple car charging solutions), and production of electric vehicles. 

Increasing the use of more ecologic sustainable transport modes comes with easing the use of it, through policies – to increase accessibility – and technologies – to increase the user experience. These efforts might pay off, considering the savings resulting from smog reduction.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen