Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Electrification of heavy-duty vehicles: How can efficiency be improved under challenging climatic conditions?

Pariz/Leipzig: Thursday, 23 May 2024

Spanish researcher Albert Alonso-Villar receives the 2024 Young Researcher of the Year Award today for his research on the effects of cold climates on heavy-duty vehicles powered by batteries.

Alonso-Villar, a graduate of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Aalborg Universitet, received the prestigious award from the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) Secretary-General Young Tae Kim during the ITF's 2024 Summit on “Greening Transport: Keeping focus in times of crisis” in Leipzig, Germany.

See photos from the Award ceremony:

The movement of goods by trucks makes up one-quarter of all transport-related emissions. Breaking heavy-duty road freight’s strong reliance on fossil fuels is a crucial element in the race to drop emissions and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.

While direct electrification is the technology that has the highest potential to decarbonise trucks, some open questions remain on its real-world application. Albert’s paper investigates the feasibility of electrification and extends the understanding of technical viability of this promising technology to decarbonise heavy-duty road freight.

Mr Albert Alonso-Villar holds a BSc (Environmental Science) from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2015) and an MSc (Engineering) from Aalborg Universitet, Denmark. He is currently in the final year of a PhD in electrification of heavy-duty vehicles at Reykjavík University, Iceland, and collaborated in the OECD project “Decarbonising Buildings in Cities and Regions” in 2022-23.

ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said:

“The Young Researcher Award is proof of our commitment to providing high-quality, research-based content and underscores our engagement and strong ties to academia. This year, we received many outstanding entries, all of which deserve an award. However, Albert Alonso-Villar’s paper stood out because it is very creative and fills a much-needed research gap.”

Download the award-winning paper, “Electrification potential for heavy-duty vehicles in harsh climate conditions”, by Albert Alonso-Villar, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Hlynur Stefánsson, Eyjólfur Ingi Ásgeirsson and Ragnar Kristjánsson:   

Established in 2008, the ITF Young Researcher Award honours young scientists under 35 years of age for research that supports sound transport policy making. In 2024, the Award attracted applications from 55 transport researchers working in 22 individual ITF member countries.

The ITF Secretariat and a gender-diverse jury of six experts from a mix of nations assessed the entries. The 2024 applications were of an extremely high standard and revealed great diversity between the papers. The panel carefully reviewed shortlisted entries, from which they chose the winning paper. The Award carries a prize of EUR 5 000.

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Media contact:

Ronan Mac Erlaine
Digital Communications Manager
International Transport Forum at the OECD
T + 33 1 73 31 25 40

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