Synthetic fossil fuels: A dieselgate 2.0 in the making?

(EurActiv, 11 Jan 2018) Audi, the German car manufacturer, is pitching ‘e-fuels’ as a clean alternative to produce petrol, diesel or gas, without having to extract fossil fuels. Sounds splendid but unfortunately too good to be true, warns Jonas Helseth.

Jonas Helseth is director of the EU office of the environmental NGO Bellona, which promotes decarbonisation strategies for society.

Holidays are over for most of us in Brussels, a period traditionally marked by news stories of little consequence; more space left for commercials in the newspapers, perhaps. German policy makers in particular cannot have failed to note the relentless flood of Audi ‘g-tron’ ads filling every screen, football stadium, roadside billboard and indeed the first double page of Der Spiegel’s Christmas edition.

“Tank up on tailwind – 80 % less CO2-emissions with Audi e-gas also from wind energy,” reads the aforementioned ad. Sounds splendid, and it fits perfectly in the wider synthetic fuel or ‘e-fuels’ strategy of Audi, which we can read about in their media center.

We are told about “petroleum-independent fuels that bind as much CO2 during their production as is emitted when they are combusted. The result is a closed CO2 cycle”. The ‘circular economy’, in other words, has reached Audi’s internal combustion engines.

External link

EurActiv, 11 Jan 2018: Synthetic fossil fuels: A dieselgate 2.0 in the making?