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Synthetic Hydrocarbon Fuel


Source: BS 

Context: Germany has proposed transitioning to carbon-neutral synthetic fuels for existing internal combustion vehicles instead of phasing them out completely.


Reasons for such a proposal:

  • Even though electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells have zero-emission during usage, their manufacturing processes have significant environmental impacts.
  • Approximately 90% of the world’s vehicles are expected to be internal combustion by 2030, and replacing them entirely would not be a zero-carbon solution.


Synthetic Hydrocarbon Fuel
AboutSynthetic hydrocarbon fuel is a type of fuel that is artificially created through chemical processes using carbon-based feedstocks.
ProductionSynthetic hydrocarbon fuel is produced by combining carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from the atmosphere with hydrogen. The carbon dioxide is typically sourced through direct air capture or other methods, while the hydrogen can be generated using renewable energy sources like the electrolysis of water.
BenefitsProducing synthetic fuel could be carbon-negative if the carbon emissions from the fuel are less than the carbon captured during the production process. Even if there is a net carbon release, it may still be lower than the carbon impact of manufacturing a large number of electric vehicles (EVs).
ChallengesHigh initial cost compared to petrol or diesel; engineering hurdles inefficient carbon capture; need for advancements in green hydrogen electrolysis