E-fuels are synthetic fuels whose properties are almost identical to those of fossil gasoline, diesel, or kerosene. Unlike these, however, they are considered climate-neutral because they do not emit more CO2 than was previously removed from the atmosphere for their production. They are compatible with conventional gas tanks without requiring extensive technical modifications. As a result, they can make a major contribution to decarbonize transport - especially heavy-duty transport, which is difficult to electrify – or to decarbonize already existing vehicles, or to extend the range of e-cars.
Synthetic fuels are among the hydrogen derivatives and are produced using the power-to-liquid process. In this process, water is first split into its components: hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted into climate-neutral fuel using special synthesis processes with CO2. The CO2 balance is measured according to the energy supplied at the start of the process. If this energy comes from climate-neutral sources, the resulting fuel is also climate-neutral.
Currently, the efficiency of the production of e-fuels is receiving much criticism. However, increasing production - and the economies of scale that can be achieved as a result - could potentially lead to higher efficiencies in short time. In addition, unlike electricity, e-fuels are easy to transport. This means, for example, that wind and solar energy can be generated where there is more than enough available - in the Earth's sunbelt. This could compensate for the weaknesses of our domestic power generation. In addition, the use of e-fuels such as synthetic methane allows the continued use of existing infrastructures for transport and distribution. In the meantime, even the combination of e-fuels and CCS technologies is being tested in implementation.