Do we already have the better E-fuel since almost 40 years? (02/2024)

I found in a podcast of Autoline (10th March 2022 - from minute 38) a pretty compact definition of E-fuels given by the former Volkswagen Manager Oliver Schmidt (became famous in the States when Volkswagen company - by my opinion - "let him hang during" the dieselgate).

His argument that we have to care even about the legacy cars to get them more carbon neutral makes a lot of sense (because we still have more than 1 300 000 000 pieces of them). And as long we don't have wide solutions for the real heavy machinery, we really have to work on it. But is the E-fuel the right way or just another project to spoil the large fuel industry with development $$. At the moment E-fuel is roughly five times more expensive than standard fuel. Depending from electricity sources there will be a way to drop this cost down for sure in the future. I remember such projects since almost 30 years, they called the sunfuel, synfuel, solarfuel... so mostly alibi projects.

So why not encourage farmers to produce their SVO and let them use it like they already did in very successful in Germany 20 years ago. This positive way was almost destroyed by German tax policy since 2005, when they changed mineral oil tax in to energy tax and included straight vegetable oil in to taxation this way.

Why to build big E-fuel refineries (or rebuild existing one) and new infrastructure for a dying engine technology, instead of using simple solutions. Why to waste expensive solar electricity, we need now for our electric powertrains, if the sun can make this CO2 transfer by oil crops much more efficient and can reduce even more CO2. Growing oil crops may recultivate old opencast mining or other unused lands.

I think it is at least something we may discuss and think about before we dump millions of $$ more in to E-fuels. I completely agree that for sensitive applications like airplanes a high standard E-fuel makes sense, but for the wide mass of heavy trucks, agriculture and construction machinery, marine applications, SVO and WVO might be the more economic and direct way to reduce their carbon footprint. Beside this it may include farmers in to the energy market, reduce their fuel cost and give them a solid income during the next years.

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