E-Fuels: Part of the Climate Tool Kit

Even their promoters see they won’t match efficiency of EVs for road transport. Even their critics see they’re needed for planes and ships.

Colin Robinson
Predict

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Simple electrolysis gear, with battery, wires, container of water, two plastic tubes.
Electrolysis of water: a simple process at the heart of e-fuel production. Rhetos, CC0, Wikimedia Commons.

Electro-fuels, also called e-fuels, are synthetic fuels made by using electricity from sustainable sources to get hydrogen from water and combine it with carbon extracted from the air. They can replace fossils fuels in existing devices, without pushing up levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide the way that fossil fuels do.

Large and small corporations around the world are developing ways to scale up production of this new generation of fuels. The European Union has prepared a regulatory framework for their use in air and road transport.

E-fuel will not solve all problems. Internal combustion engines powered by e-fuels will not match the energy efficiency of electric vehicles. This is acknowledged by e-fuel promoters. On the other hand, even critics of e-fuels acknowledge that they are needed to make aeroplanes and ships more climate-friendly.

Electro-fuels are very similar to fossil fuels (and biofuels) in their chemical compositions and the ways they can be used, stored and transported. Existing devices designed to run on fossil fuels will require little if any modification to…

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Colin Robinson
Predict

Someone who likes sharing factual information and fragments of the big picture