Alternative Fuels

Starting this thread for all the inevitable conversation about non-fossil fuels - electric, hydrogen, synthetic, fairy dust etc., starting with this.

As this is a workshop thread let’s keep it reasonably practical rather than opinionated.

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You didn’t mention shanks’s pony he he :slightly_smiling_face:

That would come under biofuel. Range anxiety being the main issue. :slight_smile:

Yes range is definitely a problem for me :slightly_smiling_face:

Paint THINNERS! As a lad I used to run my RELIANT REGAL SUPERVAN lll on it as I oiked out of work!! Now is that bio?

Looks like the good old internal combustion engine might get a reprieve yet.

New cars sold in EU must be zero-emission from 2035 New cars sold in EU must be zero-emission from 2035 - BBC News

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It would be great if e-fuel really is the solution. The problem, as I understand it, is the huge energy loss in the production process. First there is a 50 pct loss in producing the hydrogen needed for the process, and then that hydrogen must be turned into e-fuel by mixing it with CO2. So you need a lot of electricty to produce a full tank of e-fuel. But perhaps there will be alternative, more energy efficient ways in the future. One can hope, at least.

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As I understand it, e-fuel and hydrogen are different things. Hydrogen is an energy intensive process to break the oxygen bonds in water. The trick should be to use renewables to power that process. That could work in theory though I don’t know how it scales or the economics.

Fully synthetic fuel (not biofuel) is somsthing else again. I know even less about that but I did see something the other day about a process that works but the costs would be 10x per lite compared to existing fossil fuels. No doubt that could be improved/industrialised.

It’s starting to feel like reality is creeping in to the issues of ubiquitous electification and alternatives are starting to gain a little traction, at least in theory. I can’t see why that would be an issue. We’ve been choosing between two types of fuel for over 100 years.

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I am certainly no expert, far from it. But apparently you need hydrogen to make e-fuel. A quick search came up with this:

" eFuel production is based on the extraction of hydrogen. This happens by means of an electrolysis process that breaks down water (e.g. seawater from desalination plants) into its components of hydrogen and oxygen. For this process and further production steps, electricity is required.

In a second process step, with the aid of e.g. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, the hydrogen is combined with CO2 extracted from the air and converted into a liquid energy carrier: eFuel. Under high pressure using a catalyst, the hydrogen binds with the CO2. Because electricity is used for the production of eFuels, the procedure is known as a power-to-liquid process: electricity is converted into a synthetic liquid that is easy to store and simple to transport."
What are eFuels? - eFuel Alliance

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I’m no expert either. I suspect many of us will know a bit more chemistry than we do now by 2035.

The eFuel nomenclature, and others, seems to be used fairly broadly. I had a quick read through a wikipedia page to get some idea of the different methods and sources, which confirmed that my knowlege of the subject is pretty rudimentary at this point. I’ll do some more reading later when I have more time. Apparently, hydrogen can be a pure fuel or used as part of the process to produce a liquid (or gaseous) version. It’s no wonder people get confused.

My understanding may be crude (pun intended) but surely the goal will be not to obtain ‘synfuel’ from coal or other finite resources. I suppose if they don’t emit carbon as a product of burning then that’s part of the problem solved, but ultimately any resource that can’t be renewed isn’t a long term solution.


Perhaps the tide is turning, or people are starting to see sense, depending on your point of view.


We will have to wait and see where this all goes. For me it provides hope that ice will be continued.