The potential role of electrofuels as marine fuel: a cost-effective option for the future shipping sector?
Conference contribution, 2016
In order to reduce the climate impact of shipping the use of alternative marine fuels must increase. There is a range of possible alternative marine fuels and there is a need for more knowledge on the potential for the different options. Besides for example biofuels and hydrogen, electrofuels represent an additional option. Electrofuels (also called power-to-gas/liquids/fuels or synthetic fuels) is an umbrella term for carbon-based fuels, e.g. methane or methanol, which are produced from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water using electricity as the primary energy source. The CO2 can be captured from various industrial processes such as exhaust gases, the air or sea water. This study assesses if there are conditions under which electrofuels are cost-effective compared to other fuels for the shipping sector in order to reach ambitious global climate targets. Energy systems analyses are conducted using a well-established energy-economic long-term global model, developed to include also electrofuels as transportation fuels. In this initial assessment, the results indicate that it is not likely that electrofuels can compete with other fuel options, in the near term, in the shipping sector. However, it may become a complement to other alternatives during the end of this century if assuming that neither hydrogen nor fuel cells will be used in the shipping sector as well as that carbon capture and storage technologies will not be available on large scale. The production of electrofuels is still in its infancy, and many challenges need to be overcome before electrofuels can be available in large scale. For example, the production of renewable electrofuels will demand large amount of renewable electricity and non-fossil CO2. From the literature it is also clear that the competitiveness of electrofuels depend on the electricity price, not assessed in this study.
alternative marine fuel
global energy systems modelling