Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate

Measurement for our planet

How we are supporting technologies for zero emission transport

Decarbonisation of transport

NPL delivers research that supports the development and exploitation of decarbonised technologies to enable zero emission transport.

Why does the decarbonisation of transport matter?

When it comes to tackling the challenge of decarbonising transport, there are a number of potential measures and solutions that will contribute to reaching the overall net zero target. These include battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell and bio-fuelled vehicles in replacement of conventional combustion engines. Alongside autonomous vehicles, digital solutions, improvements to public services and changes to ownership models. As one of the largest contributors to the UK’s emissions output, all forms of domestic and international transport will require decarbonisation solutions.

Decarbonising transport is not just a climate and environmental issue. 40,000 premature deaths are attributed to air pollution due to road traffic, with light-vehicles accounting for 32% of transport-related NOx emissions and heavy goods vehicles accounting for around 13%. The combination of its global health and environmental impacts makes the decarbonisation of transport a critical aim for leaders around the world.

How does NPL support the decarbonisation of transport?

Our measurement science expertise is providing consumer and commercial confidence in next generation transport technologies. Our solutions help validate performance, improve safety, develop lighter, stronger and more cost-effective materials, and assist with the development of new standards.

Our research also investigates the potential environmental impact of these new technologies, such as the recyclability and second-life applications of batteries used in electric vehicles at end-of-life.

NPL is working to identify the measurement needs and challenges relating to the decarbonisation of transport through:
  • Quantifying the impact of existing transport fuels
  • Understanding how to transition to safe, sustainable fuels including the necessary refuelling and utilisation infrastructure
  • Supporting the development, validation and deployment of cost-effective and scalable clean energy technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells and electrolysers
  • Performing bulk transport modelling, design and management
  • Facilitating the migration to more efficient, automated and multi-modal transport systems for end-to-end journeys.

By working closely with industry and government, we can help to accelerate the UK towards a decarbonised transport sector.

Related content

Energy transition reports

NPL has a responsibility to tackle priority measurement challenges and is producing a series of reports which highlight and prioritise measurement needs.

Decarbonising our transport sector

Exploring batteries, fuel cells and other decarbonised transport solutions.

Air quality measurement

Quantifying the impact of pollution.

Hydrogens role in phasing out vehicles running on fossil fuels

Gareth Hinds from the National Physical Laboratory shares his vision of the near-term future of hydrogen vehicles in the UK.

Machine learning model trained for better batteries for transport

In the midst of the pandemic, NPL helped Faraday Battery gather data to train their predictive maintenance model. 

Preventing lithium-ion battery explosions

We worked with UCL to help prevent costly product failure caused by thermal runaway.

Increasing the lifetime of hydrogen technologies

We have developed a unique technique towards making fuel cells and electrolysers more cost-effective and efficient.

Supporting decarbonisation of the transport sector

NPL develops a low-cost online hydrogen fuel quality monitoring system

Measurement for our planet: Leaders’ briefing

If you’re a minister, policy maker or industry leader and would like to find out how measurement can support you in ensuring the accuracy of the information used for decision making in support of climate action, then we can help.

Metrology expertise that provides confidence in climate data

Climate measurement including earth observation


Identifying and quantifying greenhouse gas emissions at local and national scales

Greenhouse gas emissions measurement


Supporting the transition to decarbonised energy sources

Energy vector and infrastructure


Understanding emissions from agriculture and observation of land systems

Agriculture, forestry and other land use


Measurement for our planet


Enabling low carbon manufacturing through materials testing and process development

Advanced manufacturing and materials for net zero