Adrian Ramirez, S. Mani Sarathy, Jorge Gascon
Trends in Chemistry, (2020)
The transport sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of total CO2 emissions and consumes more than 50% of the total liquid hydrocarbons produced, with more than 95% of the sector today continuing to rely on liquid hydrocarbons.
There is an imminent need to commercialize low-carbon or carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon fuels using renewable H2 and CO2 as the building blocks, the so-called e-fuels.
To completely replace the use of petroleum hydrocarbons, it is important for e-fuels to be fully (or to require very minor adaptations to be) compatible with existing fuel distribution infrastructure and vehicle technologies, such that they are literally drop-in replacements.
This short opinion article highlights the necessary properties that e-fuels should display to become a drop-in alternative to traditional petroleum-derived fuels and revisits the current trends and limitations in the field of CO2 conversion to fuels.