Neither gasoline, nor diesel, nor hybrid, the only new internal combustion car from 2035 must be “neutral”

The neutral internal combustion It is the technology that the European Union will allow beyond 2035 and that implies that the cars that continue to be marketed with internal combustion engines, are not like current gasoline, diesel and hybrids, but are powered solely and exclusively by neutral synthetic fuels.

The European Union has taken a step forward in a direction for which, honestly, we would not have played much until just a few weeks ago. It is confirmed that as of 2035 new cars with gasoline, diesel, and even hybrid engines will stop being sold and that the market will be restricted to electric cars, whether battery-powered, or fuel cell – hydrogen. But a door to internal combustion remains open, as has been confirmed with the latest proposal for the Fit for 55 Package.

For some time we have also been talking about neutral synthetic fuels and assessing how and why they could be an alternative beyond 2035.

And today we can confirm it. In 2035 the European Union will ban the sale of hybrids, diesel and gasolineas we know them now, but it will allow the sale of new internal combustion cars as long as they use neutral fuels. And what does that mean?

The sale of internal combustion cars will be allowed beyond 2035, as long as they use neutral fuels

What is a neutral internal combustion car?

A neutral internal combustion car is one that has an internal combustion engine that, unlike diesel, gasoline, and hybrids, must work solely and exclusively using neutral synthetic fuels.. In other words, fuels that have been produced saving emissions or capturing an amount of COtwo of the atmosphere equivalent to CO emissionstwo that are produced in its combustion.

We are not going to go into depth to explain what neutral synthetic fuels are, of which we have already talked at length. Except to remember that they are fuels that are produced at an industrial level and that are not of fossil originso that the processes to produce them save CO emissionstwoor capture COtwo of air, equivalent to that emitted in its combustion. So that its carbon footprint, at least in its production and use, is considered zero and that, therefore, they do not contribute to increasing the greenhouse effect gases emitted into the atmosphere.

The European Union should still define, with greater precision, what is a neutral synthetic fuel and, above all, what technical specifications must be met by cars that “operate exclusively using CO2 fuels”.two neutrals”.

Once the regulatory challenge has been overcome and the acceptance of the European Union as a valid solution beyond 2035, other no less important challenges remain to be overcome. The first, to produce neutral fuels in industrial volumes, sufficient to guarantee that fuels can be supplied to the cars that are marketed. The second, that it be economically viable.

The European Union accepts CO neutralitytwo and, therefore, the validity of the sale of internal combustion cars beyond 2035 if they use neutral fuels

Will there be enough neutral fuels for everyone?

Fossil fuels – despite the prices they have reached this year, due to a mere question of the market – are abundant and cheap. They are obtained in huge quantities, drilling the earth’s surface. And they are refined, also in huge quantities, in processes that are relatively simple and inexpensive, both in energy and economic terms. The production of neutral synthetic fuels, on the other hand, requires more complex and expensive processes, such as CO capture.two or electrolysis, which can be scaled up, but not to the level of extraction and refining of fossil fuels.

For example, many projects for the production of neutral fuels are based on the capture of COtwo. A lot of CO needs to be capturedtwo and, therefore, use a lot of energy, to produce acceptable amounts of fuel. And these projects are necessarily associated with renewable energy production facilities that, therefore, require the availability of this energy, in solar or wind production plants.

One of the most ambitious projects is the one started in Chile, that of Haru Oni. The expansion of this project to the United States and Australia would allow the capture of 25 million tons of COtwo per year, produce 150,000 barrels of synthetic fuels per day (some 24 million liters per day), which would make it possible to meet the fuel demand of an entire country, such as Spain, and guarantee that more than 5 million new cars are COtwo neutral.

Neutral synthetic fuels have to overcome two challenges, production in large volumes, and its price, even so we have to hope that its scope and therefore the internal combustion cars that are sold beyond 2035 will be in very limited series, in almost testimonial figures

Will it be viable? What cars can be neutral?

Although projects such as Haru Oni ​​expect production in large volumes, these capacities are far from the current fuel needs in the world economy. Clearly, by 2035 the need for fuel should have dropped dramatically. But it is also true that, at least at the moment, we should expect new neutral combustion cars coming onto the market in 2035 to be eminently in the minority. This solution is likely to be restricted to exclusive, special, iconic cars, or even to making old cars usable with less impact on their CO footprint.two.

Transform energy, first to produce electricity through wind or solar installations, then to carry out processes such as CO capturetwo and producing the fuel, and ultimately transforming the fuel into kinetic energy in an engine, doesn’t seem the most efficient.

According to Porsche, neutral synthetic fuels are expected to be marketed at prices of around 2 euros per liter. A price that would undoubtedly make it viable and that is not so different from what we are paying today for a liter of 95 octane gasoline or diesel.

About Alicia Peters

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