E-fuels required to revolutionise heavy transport

The entire transport sector needs to change to more sustainable fuels in order to meet net-zero targets by the middle of the century, according to a new report.

The study has been produced by Dutch research centre TNO alongside electrification of the chemical sector body, VoltaChem, and marine digitisation firm, SmartPort.

E-fuels includes green hydrogen, e-methanol, e-diesel, e-ammonia, e-LNG and e-kerosine, which produce a fraction of the emissions of the traditional carbon dioxide producing fuels. They are created with electricity from renewable sources and ‘circular’ carbon dioxide.

Outlining which transportation could use which fuel, synthetic methanol, diesel, and LNG were considered the most appropriate for long-distance road transport and maritime shipping. For deep-sea marine, synthetic ammonia was suggested, with e-kerosene the only viable option for the aviation sector.

Despite being necessary for the production of e-fuels, green hydrogen can only be used to a limited extent within heavy transportation as a fuel in itself.

Author of the white paper, Richard Smokers, said: “The transport sector is responsible for 23% of global CO2 emissions. Almost three-quarters of this comes from road transport. Aviation and shipping account for about 10% of the transport sector’s emissions each.

“In order to meet the climate goals, these emissions will have to be reduced by 95% by 2050. Shipping, aviation and heavy road transport are currently lagging far behind when it comes to contributing to sustainable mobility. They must therefore become drastically greener and e-fuels offer a way out as long as stakeholders from the entire value chain will take the necessary steps and increase production and investments in the related infrastructure.”

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