The report Transport & Environment on e-fuel emissions
In unhinging the phase-out plant for diesel and petrol cars by 2035, Germany and Italy wanted to leave an opening for e-fuels, softening the transition to electric. But the risk now is that we end up with far more greenhouse gas emissions than anticipated. It is all about how the Commission, and then the 27, will define electric fuels: the more lenient criteria already proposed would make it possible to have emissions of e-fuels 5 times higher than those of electric cars.
This is stated in the latest report by Transport & Environment, the pan-European NGO that monitors transition policies in the transport sector, arrived while in Brussels is staged a tug of war between Commission officials who say they want to give the green light only to the e100% carbon neutral fuel and industry lobbyists (supported by Berlin) who want to apply the definition of electric fuels in use in the RED directive. That however previews that the emissions e-fuel can be only of 70% inferior regarding those of fossil fuels.
How many and what are the emissions of e-fuels?
If it passed this second position, e-fuel cars would emit up to 5 times more than EVs. According to T&E, the “well-to-wheel” emissions, that is, those generated both by the use of the vehicle and by the fuel production process (for the EVs, the emissions of the electric mix with which they are recharged), clearly diverge in both cases. The average e-fuel emissions would reach 61 gCO2e/km, while electric cars, according to the average emission rate of the European electricity network, would emit just 13.
That’s not all. e-fuels would also generate other types of emissions and pollutants, including NO2, carbon monoxide and ammonia. And according to the NGO’s tests, the emission volumes would be equal (for NO2) or even higher (for CO and NH3) than those of endothermic cars powered by traditional fossil fuels.
“The European Commission has said that electronic fuels must be carbon-free to escape the ban on new polluting cars after 2035,” says Alex Keynes of T&E. “For years the electronic fuel lobby has been telling us how clean their fuels are, so it is incomprehensible why they could not meet the proposed criteria. It is up to EU governments to comply with the Commission’s carbon neutrality requirement”.