PARIS -- Saudi Aramco believes it can bring down the cost of producing e-fuels enough to make them a viable way to decarbonize vehicles running on internal-combustion engines, the energy producer’s chief transport technologist said.
"We really believe in synthetic fuels," the Aramco scientist, Amer Amer, told journalists this month in an online news conference to discuss Aramco’s collaboration with Stellantis to test the viability of e-fuels on the automaker’s European engine families.
E-fuels won an exemption this year from EU regulations requiring that only zero-emissions cars can be sold in Europe after Dec. 31, 2035.
The fuels are made by combining hydrogen and carbon dioxide in a hydrolysis process. Their green credentials come from the use of renewable energy such as solar or wind to create "green" hydrogen, as well as capturing carbon dioxide from the air or from point sources such as factories.
Cars using e-fuels still emit some particulates and carbon dioxide, but proponents say that is more than offset by an environmentally friendly production process. At present, e-fuels are not being made at scale, and their pump price is potentially several times higher than gasoline or diesel.