The oil industry prefers alternative fuels due to green hydrogen and e-fuels

If oil groups often present hydrogen as the fuel of the future, they are actually investing in biofuels. A study carried out by consulting firm Ricardo Energy and Environment on behalf of the Federation of Transport and Environment Associations, published on Wednesday 11 January by the organization, shows that the funds allocated to this sector in Europe are eight times more important than their contribution to hydrogen. .

Faced with the prospect of thermal media sales ending in 2030, cleaning players have no choice but to transform. According to this study, fossil fuel demand in road transport could actually decrease by 31-56% in 2035 compared to 2021 levels, which would cause 43% of processing capacity to close or change operations.

However, the forecasts of financial obligations for 2030 mentioned in the report indicate a preference for alternative fuels. Thus, 2.5-3 billion euros will go to hydrorefined vegetable oils or Hydrorefined Vegetable Oil (HVO), doubling their current strength, and 25 billion will go to lignocellulosic feedstocks. However, according to Transport & Environment, not all of the volume of feedstock needed to produce these alternative fuels, particularly used cooking oils and animal fats, can be sustainably sourced. This could lead to mass imports of used cooking oils from dubious sources and increased use of soy or rapeseed, the NGO warns.

The €6.5 billion allocated to carbon capture also reveals the desire to convert gray hydrogen into low-carbon blue hydrogen on a large scale. This is double the envelope allocated to green hydrogen (€0.9 billion) and e-fuels (€3.3 billion), fuels that can be used to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation and maritime transport sectors. In reality, the oil industry is still not exploring the potential of clean technologies, summarizes Diane Strauss, France’s Director of Transport and Environment. Instead of wasting time on easy short-term solutions, oil refineries must immediately switch to green hydrogen and e-fuel for ships and airplanes.

Article published on January 25, 2023

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