Only with pure electric cars, the climate goals will not be met, says Porsche boss Oliver Blume. Instead, one should rely on the development and establishment of e-fuels in order to also operate combustion engines in a more climate-neutral manner. But what are e-fuels anyway? We explain to you what it’s all about.
Definition: What are e-fuels?
“E-Fuels” is an umbrella term for synthetic fuels with which cars with petrol and diesel engines can be operated in a more environmentally friendly way. The name for “Electrofuels” is written out in full. The special thing about it is that the fuel is synthetically produced with the help of renewable energies and no mineral oils are used.
The manufacturing process can be imagined as follows: Hydrogen is produced with the help of wind energy, for example. Instead of using it directly, as in fuel cell cars, it is further processed into a hydrocarbon with CO2 extracted from the air. An example of the e-fuel obtained in this way is 2-butanol. With a very high octane number of 105, the fuel has a higher hydrocarbon density than normal premium petrol with an octane number of 95. This enables engineers to develop more efficient engines with lower fuel consumption in the long term.
E-Fuel: Can combustion engines use the synthetic fuel?
Speaking of consumption: With synthetic fuels, far fewer CO2 emissions are emitted than with fuels that can be found at filling stations today. Theoretically, only the CO2 that was previously extracted from the air during production is released – in principle a zero-sum game. The only point of criticism is the high power consumption that occurs during this process.
If you take a look at Germany’s roads, it quickly becomes clear that there is still a long way to go to complete electric mobility. However, e-fuels could make it possible to drive comparatively climate-neutral beforehand. After all, all internal combustion engines can be run synthetically without any problems, and the existing network of filling stations is also ideal for distribution. The advantage of e-fuels is that they have low volatility – the fuel only evaporates at temperatures of around 100 degrees Celsius.
The big question remains whether e-fuels are really the fuel of the future. You can find all the pros and cons here.
So it’s no wonder that proponents like Oliver Blume are backing e-fuels.