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Parcel deliveries using small drones can save emissions
All things considered, it has been found that parcel deliveries using small drones can be better for the environment than deliveries made using trucks.
On average in the U.S., truck delivery of a parcel results in approximately 1 kg of greenhouse gas emissions. In California, drone delivery of a small package would result in approximately 0.42 kg of greenhouse gas emissions which is a saving of 54 percent from the 0.92 kg of greenhouse gases associated with a package delivered by truck in that state.
In carbon-intensive Missouri the improvement would be smaller – just a 23 percent reduction – but still better.
It has been found that small drones are better than any truck or van, whether powered by diesel fuel, petrol, natural gas or even electricity.
Findings in respect of larger drones were less clear-cut. They were 9 percent better than than diesel trucks when in California, but a lot worse when charged in Missouri. Because large drones need more kilowatt-hours to fly a kilometre, the carbon intensity of electricity really matters for large drones. Even in places where energy is typically generated from clean sources, it’s probably better to deliver larger packages with electric vans or electric trucks rather than large drones, because of the extra warehouse energy needed for drones.
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