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Synthetic fuels could be competitive in 2050

Liquid renewable fuels and combustibles, known as e-fuels, could be offered at competitive prices and become an additional climate protection option in the foreseeable future.

22 Jun. 2018
Synthetic fuels could be competitive in 2050 (Photo: Prognos AG)

This is the conclusion of new study prepared by Prognos AG , the German Biomass Research Center DBFZ and the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT for the German petroleum industry associations. Liquid fuels and combustibles currently account for about 98% of drive energy in transport and about 22% of heating energy in Germany. The chemical industry also uses petroleum to cover 75% of its organic raw material requirements. In order to achieve the climate goals, however, liquid energy sources must increasingly be produced with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This could be achieved by converting renewable electricity into a liquid energy source (power-to-liquid/PtL) using electrolysis hydrogen and carbon. The carbon can, for example, be extracted from the air or from biomass (power and biomass to liquid).

According to the study, PtL could be produced for about 0.70 to 1.30 euros per liter by 2050. Although, depending on the application, the fuel would thus be competitively priced compared to purely electricity-based solutions, this would require large-scale investments in PtL technology. In order to facilitate the market launch of e-fuels, which are processed, stored, transported and used in the same way as today's liquid fuels, the study recommends a roadmap for research, industry and politics.