The first synthetic fuel is already on sale in Europe: do you have the 2,800 euros that a liter costs?

The European Union will ban the sale of internal combustion cars (diesel or gasoline) in 2035, but there remains a burning nail to cling to to keep this type of vehicle alive: synthetic fuels. There is a company Zero Petroleum, which already sells them in Europe: yes, each 20-liter can costs 50,000 pounds (56,800 euros, according to current exchange rates).

Before analyzing this proposal, it is necessary to remember what a synthetic fuel is: they are fuels that are manufactured through chemical and physical processes using air (captured from the atmosphere), water and renewable energy. They continue to emit greenhouse gases, but the key is in this production process: in it, more carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured than is emitted in combustion. This way, They achieve zero carbon footprint: the European Union target for 2050.

Zero Petroleum’s synthetic fuel

With this starting point begins the story of Zero Petroleum, a company promoted by Paddy Lowe: yes, the engineer who was part of McLaren and Williams in the Formula 1 World Cup. The company has developed a carbon-neutral synthetic fuel and in its production process do what we explained a moment ago: They capture carbon from the air in amounts greater than their emissions. Its e-fuel can also be used in gasoline and diesel engines without having to adapt them.

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This was verified in the first test that they carried out a little over a year ago. In November 2021, a small plane, piloted by a member of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom, made a brief journey in the south of England powered solely by synthetic fuel.

A small handicap

Zero Petroleum ensures that, when its synthetic fuel is in full production, which is scheduled for 2027, its sale price will be three pounds per liter (3.41 euros) or less. Now it is a little more expensive: to celebrate the launch, the company has created a limited edition consisting of eight twenty-liter cans and each unit costs £50,000. Yes, you have done the math correctly: each liter costs 2,500 pounds (2,840 euros). A figure that includes VAT and shipping, but only in the United Kingdom.

The small drums are the result of dividing the 160 liters of what they consider to be the first barrel of synthetic fuel in history. something they describe as the ecological equivalent of the first barrel of oil.

two keys

Will synthetic fuels succeed? Their success depends on their carbon neutrality and their price: they must be affordable for drivers. Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche, knows this: the brand he runs is one of the ones that has invested the most in this type of fuel. Reason why, some time ago, he pointed out that it is possible to commercialize them synthetically. under 2 dollars.

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Of course, that figure will depend on how synthetic fuels evolve, how its production is scaled and if it achieves the support of the motor industry. And it is that they still have a long way to go to become the perfect substitute for fossil fuel.

About Alicia Peters

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