Be it hydrogen, electricity, biofuels or synthetically produced fuels – the new ‘Energy 4 Mobility’ expert talk series being launched by the organisers of Automechanika focuses on the topic of which alternative fuels will be powering our vehicles in future.
It all kicked off with an expert talk on last month featuring ‘E-fuels’. Some 30 participants got together at Nürburgring to share the latest findings and discuss the advantages and advantages of various synthetic fuels.
“With our new format ‘Energy 4 Mobility’, we are offering experts from the fields of industry and science a platform where they can promote advances in the field of alternative fuels. Fostering dialogue amongst stakeholders is extremely important now, and this was confirmed not only by the participants themselves, but also by the intensive discussions that took place during the event,” said Michael Johannes, VP mobility & logistics, Automechanika.
“How we decide to transform our transport and logistics to reduce CO2 emissions is one of the biggest issues facing the future of mobility. That is why we are aiming to give the full range of alternative fuels an even stronger presence at our trade fairs, including Automechanika, Hypermotion and the Festival of Motoring, and to offer participants international platforms with extensive reach.”
Participants at the very first ‘Energy 4 Mobility’ event at the Nürburgring included representatives of the automotive, energy and oil industries, as well as figures from the fields of chemical plant engineering, trade and science.
One of those present was Philipp Engelkamp, managing director of Ineratec GmbH, a builder of innovative chemical plants whose uses include the production of e-fuels: “Sustainable mobility requires a mix of various alternative fuels and innovative mobility solutions. I believe that tomorrow’s mobility will have at least three key components: electromobility, hydrogen mobility, and e‑fuels,” said Engelkamp.
Alain Mathuren, communication director at FuelsEurope, is of a similar mind: “The EU Refining Industry is transforming. We are moving into different types of products and want to enable the transport sector to become climate neutral. We believe that e-fuels have a very important role to play together with biofuels, electrification and other low carbon alternatives.”
According to Björn Noack, director sustainable mobility strategy at Robert Bosch GmbH, the primary advantage of e-fuels lies in the fact that “so-called ‘drop-in’ fuels can be used directly, even in older vehicles, making it possible to reduce CO2 emissions over every kilometre covered by the vehicle. That is because making changes with new vehicles is not enough – we also need to have a solution for vehicles that are already on the road, and e-fuels can be that solution.”
As Bastian Lehrheuer, MD of the ‘The Fuel Science Center’ cluster of excellence at RWTH Aachen University, explains, e-fuels are already suitable for across-the-board use from a technical point of view: “If the fuel is produced in North Africa, for example, where the energy yield is three times what we have here in Germany, the cost of a litre of e-fuel is less than a euro. Naturally you still have to add the taxes to that, but if the level of taxation on these fuels is set accordingly, consumers would pay no more for e‑fuel than they do for conventional diesel or petrol.”
The participants were in agreement that there is still a great deal to be done in order to reach Europe’s climate targets.
Dietmar Schwarzenthal, who works as a specialist in advanced engine development at Porsche AG, put it like this: “There is clearly a great deal of pressure on everyone to drive development in the field of alternative fuels, and to do that successfully, we need events like this one where we can network and share ideas.”
The next event in the ‘Energy 4 Mobility’ series will be taking place in Brussels next March.