Alternative fuel technologies emissions for road heavy-duty trucks: a review

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 May;28(17):20954-20969. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-13219-8. Epub 2021 Mar 8.


Many alternative fuel technologies have been studied for the transport sector to increase its sustainability while reducing costs, greenhouse gases (GHG), and air pollution emissions. Nevertheless, conventional diesel is still the predominant fuel for heavy-duty trucks. Road freight transport consumes 25% of the world's energy and is responsible for emissions with local health impacts and the global greenhouse effect. In this context, this paper reviewed items from 2015 to 2020 to analyze the technologies available for the road freight transport regarding pollutant and GHG emissions. Results are presented in two parts: first quantitatively, quantitative data was extracted from reviewed papers and statistically treated and, second, qualitatively through a comparative chart, which shows the impact on air pollutants from the use of a different type of fuels. In general, papers are mostly concerned with particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and hydrocarbons (HC) emissions due to its impact on public health, with a low number of papers covering GHG emissions. The trade-off between different fuels and how this process can impact emissions, sometimes increasing or decreasing specific pollutants, is discussed. According to the analyzed papers, the main characteristics that affect the pollutant emissions are, in general, the fuel oxygen content and the combustion chamber temperature.

Keywords: Air pollution; Alternative fuel; Emissions; Heavy-duty vehicles; Internal combustion engines; Transport sector.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution*
  • Gasoline / analysis
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Gasoline
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions