Mapping the technical and economic potential of electrofuels

Electrofuels, also known as e.g. power-to-gas/liquids/fuels, e-fuels, or synthetic fuels, are syn­thetic hydrocarbons, e.g. methane or methanol, produced from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water with electricity as primary energy source. They are interesting for several reasons, e.g. they could play an important role as future transport fuel, store intermittent electricity production or provide an opportunity for biofuel producers to increase the yield from the same amount of biomass. However, there is a lack of energy system studies of electrofuels.

Maria Grahn, Chalmers, has been leading a project performed together with IVL with the overall purpose to deepen the knowledge of electrofuels by mapping and analyzing the technical and economic potential and by analyzing the potential role of electrofuels in the future energy system aiming to reach stringent climate targets. The project is titled The role of electrofuels: a cost-effective solution for future transport? and has been a part of the f3 and Swedish Energy Agency collaborative research program Renewable transportation fuels and systems (Förnybara drivmedel och system).

Besides a report in the format of an extended summary, the project has delivered two scientific articles. The first has been published March 13th 2017 and can be accessed here. It maps, categorizes, and quantifies all major point sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial and combustion processes in Sweden. The paper also estimates the Swedish technical potential for electrofuels (power-to-gas/fuels) based on carbon capture and utilization. The second article has been published June 20th 2017 and can be accessed here. This article assesses the production cost of electrofuels through: (i) a literature review, focusing on which steps that have the largest impact as well as the greatest uncertainty; (ii) a more comprehensive review, including the costs and efficiencies for the separate production steps, and (iii) calculations to compare the production costs of the different fuel options in a harmonized way, including a sensitivity analysis of the parameters with the greatest impact on the total electrofuel production cost.

Read more about the project and access the final extended summary report here.