The French e-fuels office unveils its roadmap

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In July 2023, the Bureau had already announced the creation of the French Observatory of e-fuels.

A few months after announcing its creation and that of the French Observatory of e-fuels, the Office of e-fuels has just announced its roadmap to promote the manufacture of synthetic fuels in France, a very promising way to ensure the decarbonization of air transport, among other modes of transport.

“E-fuels have established themselves for several years as one of the major alternatives to fossil fuels for industry and air and maritime transport,” explain the representatives of the Bureau. This new organization aims to: provide insight and support for public policies aimed at promoting e-fuels to decarbonize industry and heavy transport, and make it known to the general public as a solution for the uses that are the most difficult to decarbonize. , to encourage the emergence of know-how and leadership in the sector to participate in the reindustrialization of the economy.

Providing solutions to sectors with complex decarbonization

To do this, all levers must be activated by prioritizing them. “It is first a question of promoting sobriety and energy efficiency. Then of electrifying uses for all sectors which allow it, including light mobility, the tertiary sector and residential. Finally, it is necessary to provide solutions to sectors that cannot be decarbonized without new molecules, such as biofuels and synthetic fuels also called “e-fuels”. This is particularly the case for heavy mobility (air and maritime) due to the energy power which is necessary for them, and for certain chemical industries which exploit these inputs”, explains the Office of e-fuels.

Remember that e-fuels are molecules produced by combining low-carbon hydrogen (from the electrolysis of water) with carbon dioxide captured in industrial or biogenic activities. This involves chemically storing low-carbon electricity (nuclear or renewable) in molecules identical to conventional fuels coming from fossil resources (ammonia, methanol or kerosene). Depending on their electricity and carbon supply, life cycle analyzes demonstrate that e-fuels make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% to 95% compared to fossil fuel references.

France’s competitive advantages

The Bureau recalls that France is very well placed to push the production of synthetic fuels and that it benefits from three competitive advantages to place itself at the forefront of this new sector: the production of base-load nuclear electricity , throughout the year, which is perfectly adapted to the needs of the electrolyzers currently available, supplemented by growing electricity from renewable sources (wind power, photovoltaic solar in particular), the existence in our territory of large integrated industrial platforms, capable of providing the necessary services, equipment and skills, the dynamics of the aeronautical, maritime and chemical sectors benefiting from players committed to the decarbonization of their activities such as Air France-KLM, CMA-CGM, Airbus, Safran, Dassault and ARKEMA.

“The cost of producing e-fuels mainly lies in the power supply of the electrolysers, representing between 50 and 75% of the final cost,” explains the Bureau. “The State will therefore have a very important role to play, subject to the terms permitted by the European reform of the electricity market, with two phases: the first, ensuring that part of the low-cost electricity production national carbon can be allocated to e-fuel projects to allow the emergence of a strategic sector which will meet France’s commitments at the European level by 2035 (need estimated between 15 and 20 TWh); the second , launch the massive development of additional means of producing low-carbon, nuclear and renewable electricity, in order to support after 2035 the increase in needs linked to the decarbonization of the economy, including aviation and maritime.

John Walker Avatar