The context

Political developments put pressure on decision makers

According to the new draft of the German Climate Protection Act of May 2021, greenhouse gas emissions in transport are to fall by around 43% by 2030 compared to 2020. Even according to optimistic estimates, only 20% of cars in Germany will be electric vehicles in 2030. The rest will have to be provided by alternative fuels (ReFuels). Important growing transport sectors such as aviation, shipping and heavy haulage, but also significant shares of rail transport, will be dependent on liquid fuels of high energy density in the long term. Many countries worldwide, as well as China, will stick to internal combustion engines for all transport in the long term. The chemical industry will also need large-scale renewable petroleum substitutes for its production. Liquid alternative fuels and chemical feedstocks will have to be provided for this demand in the long term.

Fridays for future

Liquid fuels are indespensible for the forseeable future

Renewable energy is sufficiently available, predominantly at latitudes near the tropics. Energy carriers are lacking. The generation and transport of electricity is far too lossy, and extreme investments are required due to the long distances involved. The production of hydrogen and the associated infrastructure for transport and consumption are also far too costly. 

Green molecules (alternative fuels) are available, allow the use of existing infrastructure and consumers (e.g. normal combustion engines) and offer high flexibility. No new dependence on politically unstable regions is created. The production of green molecules creates economic opportunities for many developing and emerging countries to develop economically while preserving the environment.

In the course of the climate discussion, products and technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gases are at the beginning of a worldwide boom. In growing transport sectors, especially aviation, shipping and heavy transport, but also non-electrified parts of the railways, and in many countries worldwide, a focus on electromobility is not an option.

For decades to come, there will be no alternative to liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels. The chemical industry increasingly needs renewable petroleum substitutes for its production. Consequently, the demand for such liquid, CO2-reduced fuels and chemicals is growing rapidly and sustainably worldwide. At the same time, the use of waste and residues as a source of raw materials is solving rapidly growing waste problems worldwide. Many countries are suffocating in waste and waste input is also an enormous problem in the oceans. The booming regenerative hydrogen economy is looking for applications that use the valuable resource hydrogen as sparingly as possible or generate as much product as possible with as little hydrogen as possible.


Further information on the DECHEMA website.