Internal combustion engines whose days are apparently numbered may receive a new incentive for their continuity: eFuel or synthetic fuel.
The big bads of climate change, fossil fuel engines like gasoline, kerosene, among other biomass and petroleum derivatives emit large amounts of CO.two in the atmosphere.
These emissions are exacerbating the rise in global temperature by altering ecosystems, interfering with the water cycle and destroying the ozone layer.
Faced with the need to replace and minimize damage, some companies are considering how to maintain internal combustion engines healthier for the world. But how to do?
What is eFuel?
eFuel is a synthetic fuel created by chemical reactions that can lead to various derivatives such as eDiesel, eGasoline, eKerosene, among others.
To obtain these products, some steps are required, the most important of which is the production of hydrogen produced by the electrical stimulus breakdown (electrolysis) of the water molecule.
In a second step with the hydrogen present, the molecule is combined with CO.two through controlled pressure and temperature processes.
This mixture results in crude methanol containing water. This substance is processed in a few more stages and refined to obtain other products.
Considering reducing its carbon footprint and more sustainable ways of producing fuel, the electricity used by the plant can come from solar or wind power, which are sources considered cleaner.
Regarding the water source, the developers claim that desalinated seawater can also be used in the process.
What is the advantage of eFuel?
Some of the benefits listed by the developers are:
- Eliminates the need for fossil fuel extraction;
- Eliminates the need for field and sugarcane cultivation;
- Clean and sustainable production process;
- It can be used in vehicles with internal combustion engines;
- It can be used with fossil fuel to lower the cost to the consumer;
- CO neutral emissiontwo.
According to the researchers, the neutral carbon dioxide emission is confirmed by the fuel production process.
like COtwo used Because eFuel production is trapped in the atmosphere, they think there is a balance between removing carbon dioxide and burning the fuel and re-emissions, so it’s emission-neutral.
There is no such compensation with fossil fuels and the combustion of the product only produces waste and greenhouse gases.
Is eFuel already in production?
Yes, but not on a grand scale. The first synthetic fuel plant was established in Chile, in the region covering the cities of Punta Arenas, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena.
The Haru Oni Project is a Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) initiative in partnership with the Porsche, AME and Baker Hughes brands.
Currently the plant produces 130,000 liters per year. This “pre-production” will be used by Porsche in its race cars.
With the expansion of the facilities by the end of the decade, Haru Oni is expected to produce 550 million liters per year.
Two more factories are expected to be operational for 2024, one in Matagorda in the United States and one in Tasmania, Australia.
Can eFuel save electric motors?
Despite the great promise of synthetic fuels, the scenario may be different.
According to the ICCT (International Council for Clean Transport), eFuel is not a guarantee of salvation for internal combustion engines.
With lower performance than electric motors preferred to reduce carbon footprint, synthetic fuel is less efficient at providing energy and requires higher combustion volume to maintain performance.
Also, they do not provide an immediate solution for other engines such as ships and airplanes, which pose a challenge to all green technologies.
Contrary to advertising, older engines will not be able to support the new technology and will require modifications to use synthetic fuel, according to the ICCT.
Another point raised by the organization concerns the cost, which will double, perhaps even triple, what is currently being applied.
While it is an attractive alternative, technology, cost and the environment are still interconnected issues that are difficult to separate.
Faced with these challenges, companies still have to work hard for those who truly know how to hope for the survival of internal combustion engines.
Source: Tec Mundo
I’m Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I’ve written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.