Cost-Effective Freight Transport Emissions Reduction

Project Background

Tackling climate change due to CO2 emissions from the transport of freight requires immediate focus on positive return-on-investment interventions funded by industry, increased public awareness and the development of accurate models to make sound decisions for future interventions to decarbonize freight transport. South Africa cannot afford not to reduce emissions due to the negative effect of extreme weather conditions affecting food security, but we also cannot afford to implement ineffective interventions. It makes sense to tackle CO2 emissions interventions which industry will pay for and have a positive return-on-investment. To attract industry investment, we use a rigorous scientific approach obtained from top UK academics from Cambridge and Heriot-Watt Universities; assisting in the choice of the most cost-effective technologies to reduce CO2 emissions from road freight, the accurate measurement of these technologies in field trials using SRF Loggers, and the precise preparation of these tests. Duplication of efforts is avoided by collaborating widely and pooling the best expertise in their respective areas from Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The industry-funded interventions will focus on using high capacity vehicles which are more fuel efficient, low rolling resistance tires, the electrification of cooling truck units and eco-driving training. The results will be published in top journals but also mainstream media. In the long term, to realize meaningful, deep cuts in CO2 emissions from road freight transport, significant investment will be required to replace diesel as an energy source. Making cost-effective investments will require accurate and appropriate road freight models to guide the correct decisions by government to invest in increased rail capacity, developing eHighways or developing hydrogen infrastructure. This required modelling capability is being developed locally at Stellenbosch University.

Project Lead

Dr Joubert Van Eeden - Stellenbosch University 

Co-Investigators/ PhDs/ RAs 

  • Professor Philip Greening 
  • Dr Christa Searle 
  • Professor Guy Walker
  • Professor David Cebon - Cambridge University 
  • Professor Bernard Bladergroen - University of Western Cape 
  • Professor Frank Klenhoffer - Wits University 
  • Dr Christopher de Saxe - CSIR 
  • Paul Nordengen - RTMS


Royal Academy of Engineering