Germany has decided to withdraw its declaration advocating for more support for e-fuels, as only a few countries expressed their support for the future use of this technology. Transport Minister Volker Wissing had planned to make this announcement at the recent IAA Mobility show in Munich, with the aim of promoting carbon-neutral fuels that significantly reduce emissions produced by internal combustion engine (ICE) cars on the roads.
Unfortunately, only Japan, Morocco, and the Czech Republic signed the declaration, committing to invest in new e-fuel plants, share knowledge about the technology, and defend “technological neutrality.” Due to the lack of widespread international support, Germany was unable to present any concrete results from its joint efforts to provide an emissions-free mobility solution as an alternative to electric vehicles.
E-fuel, also known as synthetic fuel, is produced by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combining it with hydrogen to create a combustible liquid. This fuel can be used in nearly any car equipped with an ICE. However, e-fuels are still in the early stages of development. They are produced in small quantities, not yet available to the public, and come with a high cost—around 30 times more than the average price of regular gasoline.
Despite the limited support for e-fuels, several car manufacturers remain committed to advancing the technology. Companies such as Toyota, Mazda, and Porsche have been actively involved in the development of e-fuels. Porsche has even established its own pilot plant in Chile for the production of this petrol alternative since late last year.
It is worth noting that the European Union (EU) is still moving forward with its plan to grant a legal exemption for the production of new ICE vehicles after 2035, but only if they are exclusively powered by e-fuels. This shows that there is ongoing recognition of the potential value of e-fuels in the transition toward cleaner transportation.
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