19 May 2023

Regenerative fuels: Large quantities are feasible

The nationwide "InnoFuels" project at KIT aims to ensure that vehicles with combustion engines can be supplied with sufficient quantities of synthetic fuels from renewable energies in the future. The federal government is funding the project with 5 milli

Synthetic fuels from renewable energies, so-called reFuels, promise up to 90 percent CO2 reduction compared to conventional fuels. They can be produced in large quantities and can already be used in almost all vehicles today. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have proven this in large-scale projects.

reFuels thematic focus at NUFAM

The new InnoFuels platform is now intended to network the many national and European research projects on the further development, production and application of power-to-liquid and biofuels, to identify synergies and thus help to accelerate the production of larger quantities of electricity-based liquid fuels in particular. The topic of reFuels will also play an important role during the commercial vehicle trade fair NUFAM - some exhibitors will present their solutions in this regard and on Saturday, 23 September, the trade fair invites you to the Forum Charging Infrastructure.

Synthetic fuels by the tonne

"We have already shown that reFuels work for old and today's cars as well as for commercial vehicles or locomotives," emphasises Olaf Toedter from KIT's Institute for Piston Engines, who coordinates InnoFuels. "We have also been able to produce tons of reFuels that are within the existing fuel standards for petrol and diesel fuels. Now, with the InnoFuels platform, we want to bundle all available information on reFuels, work together in teams with experts from science, industry and politics to develop overall solutions and prepare guidelines and recommendations for research and action."

So far, electricity-based fuels have mainly been produced on a research scale. If there are to be increasing blending quotas of these fuels in the future and if sufficient reFuels are to be available for aviation and shipping, much larger quantities will have to be produced on an industrial scale.

Producers need clarity

In addition to technical issues, the InnoFuels platform will also discuss the optimal design of rules and economic framework conditions for the widespread mass production of reFuels. For a rapid market ramp-up, potential producers would need clarity and long-term certainty as to whether renewable electricity-based fuels would count towards the European Union's greenhouse gas reduction quotas, Toedter notes. The energy expert is one of the speakers who will discuss the question of which type of drive fleet managers and manufacturers should invest in during the Media Day in the run-up to NUFAM on 22 June.

5.2 million for three and a half years

The InnoFuels project is scheduled to run for 3.5 years. The Federal Ministry of Transport is funding it with about 5.2 million euros. The project partners include the KIT with the Institutes for Piston Machinery and Catalysis Research. The Mineralölraffinerie Oberrhein (MiRO), the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and many other renowned companies and institutions are also involved. Among them are the e-Mobil BW State Agency for New Mobility Solutions and Automotive Baden-Württemberg, Infraserv Höchst, the German Aerospace Center, CENA Hessen, Deutsche Lufthansa, the University of Rostock, Rolls-Royce Solutions, Porsche and Volkswagen.

Bridge between knowledge and application

As "The Research University in the Helmholtz Association", KIT creates and communicates knowledge for society and the environment. The aim is to make significant contributions to global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. To this end, around 9,800 employees work together on a broad disciplinary basis in the natural sciences, engineering, economics, humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry and science through research-oriented university studies. KIT's innovative activities bridge the gap between knowledge and application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity and the preservation of our natural resources. KIT is one of Germany's universities of excellence.