The keys to sustainable mobility under debate at the Annual Conference of the Repsol Foundation Education and Research Program at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM)

17.11.2021
The Repsol Foundation Energy Transition Education and Research Program and the Technical University of Madrid organized their annual conference on sustainable mobility in which they presented the results of the education and research program's activity during the 2020-2021 academic year. Antonio Brufau, Chairman of Repsol, reiterated the company’s commitment to achieving “net zero emissions” by 2050, and, what is very important, he recalled that this commitment is expressed in the short- and medium-term strategy, as well as in the corresponding investments.

The Repsol Foundation Energy Transition Education and Research Program in the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) presented the activities that it carried out during 2020/2021 in the Technical School of Industrial Engineering at the UPM.

The institutional opening of the ceremony was given by Guillermo Cisneros, rector of the UPM, who stated that “our university is 100% committed to the attainment of the Agenda 2030 SDGs and to achieving this challenge, we must rely on the public-private collaboration which is being carried out in the university-company education and research programs such as, for example, the Energy Transition Education and Research Program, as they are the driving forces of innovation, research, and technological development”.

In his intervention, Antonio Brufau, Chairman of Repsol, stated that the electrification of light vehicles is a process that is already underway and that is going to move forward, but it is going to take years, and therefore we must advance in parallel in the decarbonization of liquids, which is the solution for the rest of transportation.

“Our allies must be science and scientific rigor, which is why the contribution of the University is key to this great challenge, to ensure an inclusive vision of technologies in the progress towards decarbonization”, Brufau affirmed.

For her part, María José Rallo, Secretary General of Transport and Mobility in the Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda highlighted the collaboration between the company and the university to promote sustainable mobility.

Next, Óscar García, Director of the Education and Research Program, was tasked with introducing the program's activity over the past year, focused on three lines of action: mobility’s carbon footprint, improvement of air quality, and emerging technologies.

Presentation of research results

During the conference, the presentation of the results of the education and research program's lines of research took place by the professors Javier Pérez, Jesús Casanova, and Rafael Borge. According to them, the decarbonization objectives must aim to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the whole life cycle of the energy source and in the life cycle of the vehicle.

There are different levers for the reduction of emissions, such as new zero-CO2 emission fuels for internal combustion engines, renewable hydrogen, the capture of CO2 for heat engines or fuel cells, and electric batteries recharged from the grid, whose CO2 emissions depend on the energy mix of each country. 

These multiple ways coincide with those outlined by Antonio Brufau, who highlighted Repsol's role as a leader in electric charging in Spain, as well as the manufacturing of biokerosene from biomass and the commitment to renewable hydrogen through the main plant in Europe located in Cartagena.

Afterwards, the awards ceremony of the 1st Edition of the Energy Challenge took place, a competition aimed at Master’s and 4th year undergraduate students at the University who looked for feasible and innovative solutions in the scope of sustainable mobility in the city of Madrid.

The winner of the award was bVAN, a project of 500 delivery vans that are 100% electric, located in the dissuasive parking lots of the M-30, of different vehicle and load categories.

In the final part of the conference, the round table “Sustainability in urban mobility” took place, which had different public and private administration experts to debate on the sustainability of urban mobility and its repercussion on air quality in cities. From different approaches, the participants discussed future forms of mobility to reduce emissions and the role that new emission control technologies for light and heavy vehicles, as well as new fuels and shared vehicles, will play in achieving this goal.

A network of Education and Research Programs for the energy transition

In the framework of its strategy to promote scientific knowledge in the field of energy transition, the Repsol Foundation has several Education and Research Programs in a network of leading universities

The  network includes the University of Barcelona, focused on carbon capture, use, and storage systems; the Comillas Pontifical University-ICAI, where the education and research program works on analyzing ways to sustainably decarbonize  industry using carbon footprint and product life cycle analysis; and the Engineering School at the University of Navarre (Tecnun), focused on the role of hydrogen as an energy carrier. A new education and research program has also recently been created with the University of the Basque Country that will analyze and study the circular economy.