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.
“To reach the climate targets of the future, we need intelligent solutions beyond e-mobility,” said Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Synthetic fuels could play a key role in this regard. The use of e-fuels would mean that drivers could continue to use their combustion engine vehicles and simultaneously contribute to reaching climate targets. From vintage cars to family vehicles, every car can drive with synthetic fuels. Moreover, future synthetic fuels can allow for almost soot-free combustion.
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.