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China uses digital technologies to cut carbon emissions in transportation

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2021-10-18

GUIYANG -- The rapid development of digital technologies is prompting a shift in China's traditional transportation industry.

Achieving a fuel consumption of 27.75 liters per 100 km, Jiang Zhili, a 39-year-old truck driver from central China's Henan Province, was the runner-up in an online fuel-saving contest involving truck drivers.

In addition to excellent driving skills and experience, Jiang attributed his success to a mobile app that can monitor diesel consumption of vehicles in real time, evaluate drivers' operation and give reasonable suggestions after analysis.

Developed by Jiefang, a truck subsidiary of China's leading automaker FAW Group, the app was launched in 2019, which has made truck driving easier and more fuel-efficient.

Transport is responsible for around a quarter of direct CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, according to statistics from a United Nations report on sustainable transport.

Carbon emissions by the transport sector in China account for about 10 percent of the country's total carbon emissions, with over 80 percent from the road freight transport, data showed.

As China strives to meet its commitment to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, it has encouraged deep integration of new technologies like big data, internet, artificial intelligence and blockchain with the transport sector, as well as more efforts to foster a green and low-carbon way of transport.

The total size of China's intelligent transportation market increased from 42 billion yuan (about 6.53 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011 to 165.8 billion yuan in 2020, with an annual growth rate of about 20 percent, according to statistics released by China Intelligent Transportation Systems Association.

Manbang Group, China's leading domestic freight service platform, has used digitization to help reduce carbon emissions in transportation.

Headquartered in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, the company serves around one-fifth of the country's truck drivers, with businesses covering more than 300 cities nationwide.

With smart recommendations through the use of big data, Manbang Group helps truck drivers find goods quickly and reduces empty-load rates and fuel consumption, cutting carbon emissions by an estimated 330,000 tonnes in 2020, the company said.

"We actively fulfill our social responsibilities and obligations by promoting cost reduction, efficiency, energy conservation and emission reduction in the logistics industry," said Xu Qiang, vice president of Manbang Group.

In the future, the company will establish a carbon emission management platform, optimize the transportation organization mode and promote the use of new energy vehicles, Xu added.

Besides highway freight service, other sectors in the transportation field have also been adopting new technologies to tackle carbon emissions.

When an aircraft descends, putting the landing gear down too early will consume more fuel, while putting it too late will affect safety. Based on big data analysis, China Southern Airlines deduced the best height to drop the gear.

The company has also figured out other methods covering takeoff, flight and landing to save more fuel.

Data showed that from 2018 to 2020, China Southern Airlines aircraft had saved 127,000 tonnes of fuel and reduced carbon emissions by 401,000 tonnes.

"The full application of internet and digital technology in the transportation sector plays an active role in improving the industry efficiency and reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions," said Tan Xiaoyu, a senior engineer at the Transport Planning and Research Institute of the Ministry of Transport.