Could Synthetic Fuels Help Save The Planet?

Fri 19th Jun 2020


With the UK on the roadmap to carbon neutral car production by 2035, an alternative to electric vehicles is being proposed by Europe’s leading fuel organisation.

FuelsEurope, a constituent of 40 petrol and diesel companies is pushing governments to consider synthetic or Low Carbon Liquid Fuels (LCLFs), a fuel option which doesn’t produce any CO2 or other greenhouse gases.

Under current plans, the UK consumer market will be expected to replace in the region of 50 million internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035, however the use of synthetic fuels could soften the blow. FuelsEurope is also suggesting that greener fuels could allow for motor manufacturers to keep the price of cars down, as they are currently burdened with the huge cost of converting to electric battery vehicles.

There are some downsides to the LCLFs, the fuels cannot currently be used on their own and have to be mixed with fossil fuels and most vehicles will need modifications to their engines to use them. There’s also the issue of the amount of energy required to create the synthetic fuels, which could in effect be counter-productive.

However, FuelsEurope is keen for the issue to be discussed by politicians and decision makers.

“Today we are setting out an ambitious pathway for enabling transport to contribute to EU’s climate neutrality ambition by 2050, based on scale up of low-carbon-liquid fuels supply and use, across several transport sectors,” said the organisation’s director general, John Cooper.

“With a clear societal and scientific case for far-reaching climate action, and taking into account the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus crisis, we respect that there will be no return to business as usual for the fuels industries.

“With the focus increasingly turning to recovery and new investments, we believe now is the time to start policy discussions with EU and national policy-makers and customer stakeholders to design the enabling policy framework for the deployment of these essential low-carbon fuels.”