Near-term potential of biofuels, electrofuels, and battery electric vehicles in decarbonizing road transport
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Hannula, I., & Reiner, D. (2019). Near-term potential of biofuels, electrofuels, and battery electric vehicles in decarbonizing road transport. Joule https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2019.08.013
We develop a framework for comparing carbon-neutral synthetic fuels (CNSFs) with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as alternatives to reducing CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles. CNSFs can be divided into fuels produced from biomass via gasification and electrofuels produced from CO2 and water using electricity. We develop CNSF cost estimates for first-of-a-kind plants operating at commercial scale. Although already competitive over short distances, we find that longer-range BEVs are likely to remain more expensive than CNSFs even if low (∼$125/kWh) battery costs are achieved, and all three options would require carbon prices in excess of $130/tCO2 or oil prices in excess of $100/bbl to become commercially viable relative to petroleum. The viability of electrofuels ultimately depends on access to low-cost, ultra-low-carbon power systems or sources of zero-carbon electricity with high annual availability. Priorities should include deploying a portfolio of CNSF technologies to help appraise decarbonization pathways, economies of scale, and learning by doing.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2019.08.013
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/297478
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/