On the move with new fuels

Power-to-X: Climate-friendly air and sea transport On the move with new fuels

Fuels from renewable energy will play a major role in future for climate-friendly air and sea transport. A specialist conference at the Federal Ministry for the Environment provided a forum for experts to discuss how to successfully start ramping up the market for new fuels.

Photo shows an aircraft approaching to land.

On approach: from 2026 a fixed quota for the use of sustainable aviation fuel will apply to air travel. 

Photo: picture alliance / blickwinkel

Air transport is to become more sustainable. A fixed quota for the use of sustainable aircraft fuels will apply to Germany from 2026. The quota is to be 2% from 2030 onwards. The EU—European Union Commission has included proposals to introduce a quota in its "Fit for 55" package in order to increase the proportion of sustainable aircraft fuels. This means that a certain quantity of kerosene derived from electricity will have to be mixed into aviation fuels.

At an expert conference, Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze made it clear that “in their early stages, new technologies need financial support to get off the ground. This also applies to so-called  PtL—power-to-liquid fuels. Alongside regulation, players in this market require assistance in the launch phase.”

Research and development at two sites in Germany

The Federal Ministry for the Environment is supporting the development of PtX—power-to-X technologies and efforts to ramp up the market for them at two different locations. As a result of this support, the PtX—power-to-X Lab Lausitz is to be opened at the end of August. The Lab will develop the specialist foundations for producing and using these technologies in environmentally friendly ways. It will also promote cooperation between research and business.

The International PtX—power-to-X Hub Berlin is primarily intended to promote the sustainable production and use of climate-neutral elements and fuels based on green hydrogen in developing and emerging countries. The National Hydrogen Strategy includes a budget of 600 million euros which the Federal Ministry for the Environment will use to promote the production of fuels derived from electricity for air and sea travel.

Opportunities for many new jobs

Schulze announced that her ministry was working on a funding line for the production of PtL—power-to-liquid fuels. “The goal is to ramp up the market for PtL—power-to-liquid fuels. This will create many new jobs, as the development and production of PtX—power-to-X technologies require the combined expertise of researchers, engineers and technical specialists from Germany.”

As Uwe Lauber, Chief Executive Officer of MAN Energy Solutions and Chair of the VDMA—Mechanical Engineering Industry Association Arbeitsgemeinschaft Power-to-X for Applications, bestätigte: “the VDMA is the leader internationally in developing PtX—power-to-X processes.” The potential for these processes is huge, as many regions around the world offer good conditions for the production of green hydrogen and PtX—power-to-X products.

PtX—Power-to-X Atlas reveals great potential

The potential of this technology is revealed by the world's first PtX—power-to-X Atlas, produced by the Fraunhofer-IEE—Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology. Experts have concluded that, in the long-term, 69,100 terawatt-hours of hydrogen and 57,000 terawatt-hours of fuels derived from electricity can be produced outside Europe. By way of comparison, global air travel will require a total of no less that 6,700 terawatt-hours by 2050, and global marine transport will require 4,500 terawatt-hours of fuel derived from electricity. The USA and Australia have the greatest potential in terms of land area, while Chile and Argentina have the lowest cost thresholds for the production of PtX—power-to-X.    

“The availability of land is not the limiting factor when it comes to implementation,” according to Kurt Rohrig from the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy. “In fact, it’s the maximum potential for expanding the renewable energies that will have to be developed for the hydrogen and PtL—power-to-liquid production facilities.”