The Digital Trend Conference “Engine & Environment” - The Digital Trend Conference “Engine & Environment” - Content
The Digital Trend Conference “Engine & Environment”
ZERO-IMPACT MOBILITYEMISSIONS AND LIFECYCLE CO2: NO LONGER A CONFLICT?
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The challenges arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic have created extreme financial and economic problems for an automotive industry that was in the throes of radical change even before this crisis. Collaborative discussions on the further development of the sector and the trends and strategies of future mobility are essential, particularly in times like these.
Even this year’s 32nd International AVL Conference “Engine & Environment”, one of the most influential in its field, faced unknown challenges as worldwide restrictions on travel and personal contact made it impossible to hold the conference in Graz as usual. In view of this, we decided to take a courageous and pioneering step: we moved the entire symposium into the virtual world, made the discussion forums and the podium discussion interactive and hence created the first “Digital Trend Conference ‘Engine & Environment’”.
The success proves us right: More than 2,000 participants from over 70 countries registered for the symposium, the conference platform was visited more than 3,000 times. The format was able to attract many new international visitors, above all from Asia,
Therefore, it can be said that this AVL Trend Conference “Engine & Environment” in digital form was the most successful that has ever taken place.
The presentations were of the usual high caliber: Otmar Bitsche, Director E-Mobility at Porsche AG, introduced the new Porsche Taycan and the corresponding fast charging infrastructure. Phillip Lindsay Lake reported on how Vinfast, a private car manufacturer in Vietnam, has developed from a start-up to an OEM with a complete portfolio. Nicolas Fremau from Renault explained how its newly developed DHT transmission, intended for use in Renault’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, will smooth the path towards electric driving. This is a remarkable development, considering that at the beginning of the electrification trend, many experts feared that no transmissions would be required in the future. Yet today, the DHT has become a core element of an electrified powertrain.
But what will the path towards environmentally neutral mobility look like? A suggestion from Audi’s Dr. Hermann Pengg was the subject of much discussion. He demanded a global cap for CO2 emission for as many sectors as possible, so that the most cost-efficient solution for the reduction of CO2 would be able to establish itself in the trading of the remaining rights. This suggestion would probably give synthetic fuels created from renewable energy an economic opportunity. AVL’s Dirk Becker presented a very cost-efficient form of production for such e-fuels: the combination of high temperature, solid-oxide electrolysis using the Fischer-Tropsch process.
All speakers were unanimous in saying that the entire lifecycle of a vehicle must be considered on the path to zero impact mobility. Dr. Nikolai Ardey, Executive Director Innovation at Volkswagen Group also considered the efficiency of the different powertrain in a well-to-wheel analysis. In this analysis, a pure e-vehicle that came out top still produced high CO2 emissions, particularly during battery production. For this reason, Volkswagen intends to use only 100% renewable electricity to manufacture its batteries by 2025 at the latest.
Electrification is not an option, there is no way around it, that is how Phillip Hamon, CTO at Valeo Siemens eAutomotive put it. Zero-emissions vehicles are also possible with combustion engines, as clearly shown by AVL’s Dr. Christian Martin, which are also competitive from a cost aspect with BEVs and FCEVs. Professor Dr. Helmut Eichlseder confirmed this in his presentation; the zero-emission combustion engine is possible now, assuming environmentally e-fuels are available.
As a highlight on the last day, the podium discussions on the subjects of “Electricity versus Synthetic Fuels”, “The Future of the ICE” and “The Path to Zero Impact Mobility” were published on the conference platform. The questions concerning all the presentations and the different approaches were discussed. One thing stood out: whatever form the path towards Zero Impact Mobility takes, it is worth taking! And all solutions will play an important role: the battery electric vehicle and the fuel cell, the dedicated hybrid transmission and the optimized combustion engine, hydrogen as well as environmentally neutral synfuels.
Save the date for the 33rd Engine & Environment Conference on 20th and 21st May 2021.
Text provided by Ulrich Walter, Moderator of the Panel Discussions, and adapted by AVL