Home English European Union, crackdown on e-fuels: they must only be 100% carbon neutral

European Union, crackdown on e-fuels: they must only be 100% carbon neutral


The European Commission is working on the e-fuel exemption which would allow cars that can only run on this fuel to be able to be sold even after 2035. The exemption, we remember, is the result of mediation with Germany which allowed the EU to obtain the green light to stop endothermics from 2035. We have talked about this topic a lot in the past.

Now, according to what is reported Reuters, the European Commission's exemption proposal is almost ready. However, it seems that the limitsthat is intended to be introduced on this synthetic fuel are so stringent to make their use practically impossible after 2035.

In practice, to fall within the exemption on which the European Commission is working, e-fuels will have to be totally neutral in terms of emissions of carbon dioxide. This means that they will have to be made using a quantity of CO2 captured in the atmosphere equal to that emitted by the engines during their operation.

Currently, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) allows specific fuels to be used if they achieve a 70%, not 100%, emissions reduction. Apparently, however, the European Commission is aiming for 100%.

According to e-fuel advocates, it is currently not possible. It is technically possible to produce synthetic fuels in a completely climate-neutral way due to the emissions calculation methodology which includes some of the transportation, storage or distribution of fuels.


The draft exemption has sparked several negative reactions. In particular, the eFuel Alliance pointed the finger at the European Commission, accusing it of not wanting to keep the commitments made. Furthermore, he makes it known that during the internal discussion to decide the parameters of the exemption, there is was a dispute between DG CLIMA and DG GROW, i.e. the generation direction for Climate Action and that for the internal market.

According to what the eFuel Alliance says, the second would have asked to agree on a reduction in CO2 emissions of 70% as required by the renewable energy directive (position supported by Germany). Instead, DG CLIMA prevailed and raised the bar to 100%.

Obviously we have not yet arrived at a definitive text and therefore changes are still possible. However, it seems clear that an agreement will not be achieved very easily. In any case, there is only until the end of the year to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties. Ralf Diemer, Managing Director of the eFuel Alliance, explains:

E-fuels, produced from renewable sources, are climate neutral. During combustion, only the CO2 captured during the production process is emitted. The RED plans to take into consideration in the carbon dioxide calculation not only the use phase of the vehicle, but also elements of the transport, storage or distribution of fuels.

A 100% emissions reduction is therefore almost impossible. This This applies to all technologies, including electromobility. As long as transport and distribution are not also covered by renewable energy, it is impossible to achieve a total emissions reduction target.

It is also not It is understandable on which basis the Commission chose 100%. Obviously, there is no impact assessment on how and when such an objective could be achieved.

To understand the real CO2 emissions of a product, explains the association, it is life cycle analysis is fundamental. However, the industry must be given the opportunity to to achieve objectives with intermediate steps.

We support the will of the EU to take the lifecycle more into consideration, even if this approach is not still been implemented in many other regulations. However, the industry must be given the opportunity to to achieve goals with intermediate steps along the path to neutrality climate. It appears that European legislators are pursuing framework conditions that could make sense in a world from 2040 onwards. The current regulatory intervention of the Commission, already excessively strong in its own right, it is blocking our goals instead of pursuing them with ambition.

For October it is a meeting between representatives of the Member States is planned to discuss the issue with the Commission.

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