News Digest Item
08 Jun 2018

Synthetic fuels could replace oil by 2050 - study

Prognos / Fraunhofer UMSICHT / DBFZ

Synthetic fuels will be competitive with conventional liquid fuels by 2050 and replace oil as the primary ingredient for transport and heating fuels by mid-century, a new study by consultancy Prognos, research institute Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) says. The study, commissioned by several business associations from the refinery and mineral oil sector, says that by transforming renewable power into liquid fuels with carbon taken out of the air or from biomass, producing almost greenhouse gas-neutral fuels is possible and could significantly reduce the climate impact of the transport and heating sector. While some industries, such as aviation, shipping and chemical production, cannot function without liquid fuels, the synthetically processed power-to-liquid fuels “will compete with other energy carriers, for instance power-based systems” in other sectors, especially individual transport with passenger cars and heating, the researchers write. They note that the existing liquid fuel infrastructure could still be used for synthetic fuels, with “expensive conversions” becoming unnecessary. Liquid fuel production could be done cheaper in many countries with good conditions for renewable energy generation, making imports of synthetics fuels a viable option in the long run, they add. The German state should support the market introduction of power-to-liquid procedures in the same way it facilitated the ascent of renewable energy production to bridge the gap towards profitability, the study recommends. 

Find the study in German here and the press release of the mineral oil industry here.

For background, read the interview Emission-free aviation is technically feasible - DLR Researcher.

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