Today, David Bothe, Associate Director at Frontier Economics in Cologne, gave a presentation at the automotive engineering conference "Dritev" in Bonn, Germany.
In his presentation entitled “combustion engine and synthetic fuels – essential part of a mobility transition”, David summarised recent analyses by Frontier Economics on decarbonisation and the future of mobility.
David emphasised that e-fuels from renewable electricity were key for a successful energy turnaround in the transport sector as they had numerous advantages over direct electrification:
Better storage capacity – The main cost advantage of e-fuels was their high energy density and the associated ease of storage.
Scope to import – In many regions of the world renewable energies could be used much more easily and with fewer conflicts of use than in Central Europe. Once converted into e-fuels, these energies could be used in liquid and gaseous form at comparatively low transport costs in Europe.
Potential to use existing infrastructure – The continued use of gas networks for liquid and gaseous energy sources avoids the need for substantial investment for electrifying end-user appliances and expanding electricity networks.
Acceptance from society – Apart from the economic and technical aspects, the energy transition project can only succeed with broad support from society. In this context, e-fuels offer further advantages over comprehensive electrification.
David highlighted that all of these advantages offset potential inefficiencies through conversion losses. Even if the transport sector switched to almost 100% renewable energy in the long term, mixing electricity and e-fuels remains the most economical solution for energy supply.
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