Study: “Import of E-Fuels No cheap patent recipe”


The climate-neutral society stands for many governments far above on the agenda. The EU Commission also wants the Member States to disapprove no harmful emissions no later than 2050. Big hopes are responsible in this context in hydrogen and synthetic fuels. But still the production is awkward and expensive. In addition, the weather conditions in Europe are not optimal.

A building block in many future scenarios is therefore importing green hydrogen and methane from North Africa or the Middle East. There, reliable sunshine and low electricity costs promise good conditions for the operation of electrolyzers. But still it is unclear how international trade in green fuels could be initiated and designed.

A study involving the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal (IEG) has now evaluated the potential of energy imports. That’s out of a message from IEG. The study is published in the journal “Computers & Industrial Engineering”. According to the report, the investigation is based on prices for green hydrogen and methane of more than 100 euros per megawatt hour in 2030 and just under 100 euros in 2050. Currently, the prize for methane at the European raw material market is around 30 euros, it says.

The analysis shows that the e-fuel production in the region of North Africa should be attractive to the Middle East, however, capital and transport costs could reduce the benefits of the region or even dull, it means. “The import of E-Fuels to Europe is not a cheap patent recipe to avoid bottlenecks when expanding renewable energies or to achieve a transformation on the offer page,” warns Ben Plorger from the Fraunhofer IEG. The costs should therefore be weighed against other options.

For the competitiveness of hydrogen imports from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, there are therefore two things decisive: comparable risk premiums for investment capital as in Europe and low transport costs. In addition, the braked expansion of renewable energies in Europe – such as lack of expanding surfaces for wind power and photovoltaic imports benefit imports.

An analysis of the production chains of synthetic fuels and taking into account transport clarifies the complexity of the size of these possible projects, says in the study. They are too big and costly to be done without strong political support. In addition, there must be security that the energy products will be removed in the long term at agreed prices.

Political decision-makers who seek imports of green hydrogen or fuels should now send the necessary developments, advise those skilled in the art. Finally, infrastructure projects in this magnitude would have a considerable lead time.

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5 thoughts on “Study: “Import of E-Fuels No cheap patent recipe””

  1. If you accept synthetic fuel with 10kWh / l (it’s more more), then you would come to 1 € / l, which is surprisingly low. I know there still diverse costs for real fuel, but here the costs of methane are called under 100 € / MWh.

    I do not understand how the price for H2 and methane should only be similar, as I have to add the cost of the conversion losses in synthesizing methane and the cost of the deposition of CO2 from the air.

    Too bad that I can not look into the FHG study …: – /

  2. IMPORTANT PARTS OF THE INDUSTRY have already decided the question.
    Korean, Japanese and European companies include contracts for large quantities of delivery with suppliers in Australia, Chile North and West Africa (example: Covestro, Germany with Fortescue, Australia).
    Suppliers invest in total hundreds of billions in the production of green hydrogen and derivatives thereof. Pipelines are upgraded, ships are built and tested. 2024 Start deliveries, 2025 it will be big quantities.

    It was always clear that densely populated areas with lots of industry should import part of the wind and solar energy with benefit of less densely populated areas with better production conditions, instead of having one’s own areas even more. The USA has these areas in your own country. Japan, Korea and Central Europe.
    There are no thinking barriers in many countries, somehow already in Germany. Since one likes to dream of self-sufficient production and still wants to remain export world champion. The question of how customers should pay the products is excluded.

  3. According to the report, the investigation is based on prices for green hydrogen and methane of more than 100 euros per megawatt hour in 2030 and just under 100 euros in 2050.

    Small bill:

    1 megawatt hour (MWH) = 1.000 kWh
    100 euros divided by 1.000 kWh are 0.10 euros per kWh.
    0.10 Euro per kWh H2 x 33.33kWh per kg H2 = rounded 3.33 euros per kg H2.

    3.33 euros per kg H2 as a raw material price at the harbor / at the end of the pipeline – and at the H2 gas station?

    With us it should be more worthwhile Cleaning dirt water of the sewage treatment plants via green electricity and plasmalysis while splitting up at the same time to produce hydrogen, methane or nitrogen there.

    In the dirt water plasmalysis could even be produced by 20 kWh per kg H2 (according to Wikipedia and Graforce) energy-saving, since certain substances in the wastewater appear to bring already “energy”.

    Large-scale industry, Airlines and shipping companies can get green hydrogen, methane and e-fuels from Africa, but the population and municipalities can handle the energy transition even without energy imports, if from 45 million. Old burns no 45 million. Two-ton E-SUVs will.

    In the future 30 million smaller electric cars and covered car-like pedelecs can be saved year after year million tonnes of steel, aluminum, plastics, batteries and thus a lot of electricity.

    The humanity does not just have to switch to renewable energies, but also massively restrict the huge resource consumption (1.84 Earth), because there is a lot of energy (eco-electricity) saved, so that you need much less PV and wind turbines with us and elsewhere.

  4. There is also E ammonia that you can use as a fuel. The easiest as a mixture of NH3 and LPG (70 to 80 percent NH3). E vehicles with small lead acid batteries and an ammonia generator (100 percent) are the cheapest and CO2 of the most neutarest vehicles.
    The ammonia costs incl VAT at the gas station are 46 cents per liter, which corresponds to a diesel price of 1.25 euros.
    Kimeis PV wants to bring these vehicles to the market and from Tanzania 90.000 tons of ammonia supply to Germany. Gradually until 2030.
    Report you if your interest has come to participate


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