Until recently, preventing around 2.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050 seemed like an impossible vision. This could soon change with the help of synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels, argues Urs Ruth, Senior Expert on Climate Change and Energy at Bosch.
14 November 2017
A Bosch study has shown that e-fuels can make a significant contribution to reaching climate targets if they are consistently used in passenger vehicles. In contrast to biofuels, producing this new fuel does not compromise agricultural land, as the use of limited arable land is not required. E-fuels are produced exclusively with renewable sources of energy as well as with the combination of hydrogen and carbon. The latter can even be extracted directly from the air. These two elements can be combined to make synthetic gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
A promising development
Until now, the production of e-fuels has been very expensive. In the future, a strong market and favourable developments in terms of energy prices could mean that synthetic fuels are available for EUR 1-1.40 per litre, plus taxes. What is more, the current network of service stations could still be used, as synthetic fuels have the same chemical structures as conventional gasoline.
However, e-fuels are still being developed. This is why they are receiving the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy within the framework of the “Energy transition in Road Traffic” initiative. The cost of production facilities must be reduced and additional test facilities built. If synthetic fuels become more accessible and affordable, the carbon-neutral engine may well become reality.
Urs Ruth is Senior Expert on Climate Change and Energy at Bosch. The views expressed in the above piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of ICC.
More information on synthetic fuels from Bosch can be viewed on their website: http://www.bosch-presse.de/pressportal/de/en/carbon-neutral-cars-synthetic-fuels-turn-co2-into-a-raw-material-120448.html