Industry fears that so-called e-fuels could be a similar flop to biofuels are high. There are too many parallels. Which is why some players are very unsettled. There are also numerous critics warning against extending the life of internal combustion engines. On the other hand, synthetic fuels offer a great opportunity, especially for the until now market-dominating corporations to maintain their influence. In addition, many billions of euros in revenue beckon. Hence this attempt to shed some light on the e-fuel debate.
If there were to be a widespread switchover to e-fuels for transportation we would be shooting ourselves in the foot in environmental terms. The more we rely on e-fuels, the more impossible it will be for us to turn around the world’s energy system before it’s too late. The internal combustion engine isn’t getting any greener and a fundamental rethink of mobility is absolutely essential.
Our society is facing great challenges. The climate targets for 2030 (Klimaziele 2030) must be achieved without negatively impacting our mobility and Germany as an economic center. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles, existing vehicles must also be considered. For these, renewable synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, must be the only option. Only through their use can a ban on the driving of conventional vehicles, which the federal government is considering in light of Klimaziele 2030 and which would mainly affect lower-income citizens, be prevented.
How important synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels, will be in a future energy system is a question many are hotly debating these days. The answer, of course, depends on whom you ask and whom they represent. To bring some facts to the table, energy institute ifeu recently conducted a study for German environment agency UBA to determine the amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted by fuels produced through power-to-X.
Despite the current wave of enthusiasm about the potential of hydrogen, there is much discussion and much uncertainty about the role of synthetic fuels. If you follow the current debate, you sometimes get the impression that E-Fuels are either another saviour or a spawn of evil.