The environmental footprint of transport by car using renewable energy

Bunyod Holmatov, Arjen Y. Hoekstra

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Replacing fossil fuels in the transport sector by renewable energy will help combat climatechange. However, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by switching to alternative fuels or electricity cancome at the expense of land and water resources. To understand the scale of this possible trade‐off, wecompare and contrast carbon, land, and water footprints per driven km in midsize cars utilizingconventional gasoline, biofuels, bioelectricity, solar electricity, and solar‐based hydrogen. Results show thatsolar‐powered electric cars have the smallest environmental footprints per km, followed by solar‐basedhydrogen cars, and that biofuel‐driven cars have the largest footprints.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Sustainable development
  • biofuel
  • environmental assessment
  • environmental footprint
  • hydrogen
  • renewable energy


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