18 Oct 2019

A look into the role of e-fuels in the transport system in Europe (2030–2050) (Concawe Review 28.1)

In December 2015, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convened in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21). The conference was an important step towards addressing the risks posed by climate change through an agreement to keep the global temperature increase ‘well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels’ and drive efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve these goals, the European Union (EU) is exploring different mid-century scenarios leading to a low-carbon EU economy by 2050.

In line with the EU’s low-emissions strategy, Concawe’s cross-sectoral Low Carbon Pathways (LCP) programme is exploring opportunities and challenges presented by different low-carbon technologies to achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with both the manufacture and use of refined products in Europe over the medium (2030) and longer term (2050). In the scenarios considered by the Commission (P2X, COMBO, 1.5 TECH and 1.5 LIFE) e-fuels are presented as a potential cost-effective technology that could be used to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, i.e. to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

As part of the LCP programme, this article presents a literature review of e-fuels, and aims to build a better understanding of the e-fuel production technologies and implications in terms of efficiency, contribution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, technology readiness level, environmental impact, investment, costs and potential demand. This is a summary of the exhaustive literature review due to be published at the end of 2019. Recent state-of-the-art publications have been identified and compared in this literature review, covering detailed assessments, presentations, technology providers, position papers and the European Commission’s long-term strategy, A Clean Planet for all. It is intended that this will help to define a better picture of the potential role of low-carbon fuels in Europe.

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