David Bothe, Associate Director at Frontier Economics in Cologne, gave a presentation on the future of mobility at the International Engine Conference in Baden-Baden, Germany today.
In his presentation entitled “Energy Transition and Sector Coupling – General Framework for the Future Mobility Sector”, he discussed the effects of the conversion of the mobility sector to renewable energies on technology development.
Even if all primary energy sources will be renewable (and thus often generate electricity), renewable electricity can be used either directly (e. g. by battery-powered electric vehicles, BEV) or indirectly through the production of hydrogen and synthetic fuels as well as further use in internal combustion engines.
David emphasized, that a meaningful evaluation of the technological possibilities necessarily has to take into account the effects on the entire energy system. While direct electrification is often considered advantageous since this combination offers the highest well-to-wheel efficiency, synthetic fuels such as hydrogen, he explained that power-to-liquid (PtL) or power-to-gas (PtG) have several advantages that offset potential inefficiencies through conversion losses.
He concludes that “even in a world without fossil fuels, liquid and gaseous fuels will play a key role in the energy system”. Therefore, he sees a long-term perspective for combustion engines to remain part of the technology mix in the mobility sector.
Future Fuel Chains (Well-to-Wheel) must be planned and evaluated together with the full energy system.
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