E-fuel is a collective name for synthetic fuel, which is produced using green electricity. In the long term, e-fuels could replace petrol, diesel and kerosene, including in existing cars. Without the relevant combustion engines losing power or lifespan.
The great thing about e-fuel is that not a drop or grain of fossil raw material is used. As mentioned, e-fuels are made using sustainably generated electricity, water and carbon dioxide (CO2). This CO2 can be obtained as a residual or waste product from agriculture and industry. Under ideal conditions it can even simply be extracted from the outside air.
That process in itself is not a distant or complicated thing in the future, because there are already installations that do this. If such installations are deployed on an industrial scale, they have enormous potential to make future and existing vehicles CO2 neutral.
Especially since the originally planned, absolute EU ban on the combustion engine for passenger cars has been scrapped. It was decided that the door would remain ajar for other technical solutions that reduce CO2 emissions. This also includes e-fuels.
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Although politicians are mainly focusing on battery-electric mobility, not everyone is convinced that this is the only or ideal path. Aren't fuel cells, hydrogen combustion engines or synthetic fuels a better alternative?
Many motorists still have no interest in electric cars and have several reasons for this. The often limited range, especially in winter or if you use the car as a caravan tractor, is the main objection. Driving on e-fuels gives the same range as driving on petrol.
But long charging times, high purchase prices and the fear of degrading batteries are also frequently heard objections. Not to mention the scarcity of battery raw materials, the effects of extraction on the environment and the working conditions of the - often underage - miners. These are all serious objections that do not apply to e-fuels.
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However, a number of these objections will be (partly) resolved in the near future, which is partly why many scientists believe that the battery-electric powertrain is the most efficient path to emission-free driving.
A major disadvantage of synthetic fuel is that an e-fuel car uses up to five times as much electrical energy as an EV. After all, an electric car converts electricity directly into kinetic energy. In that sense, a car running on synthetic fuel fares hopelessly against an electric one.
Then there is also the question of whether enough e-fuel can be produced, but we will tackle that issue in part 3 of this four-part series on e-fuels.
This post was last modified on October 26, 2023 5:05 am
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