Electrofuels – a possibility for shipping in a low carbon future?
This paper gives an overview of the current status of electrofuels regarding technologies, efficiencies and costs.
The global share of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from ships is only about 2 percent, but there is a risk that this share will increase substantially if no action is taken. What are the possibilities for decarbonisation of the shipping industry, then? Some of the measures discussed are energy efficiency, use of biofuels and use of hydrogen. In this paper a fourth option is scrutinised – use of electrofuels. Electrofuels is an umbrella term for carbon-based fuels, e.g. methane or methanol, which are produced using electricity as the primary source of energy. The carbon in the fuel comes from CO2 which can be captured from various industrial processes such as exhaust gases, the sea or the air.
The production of electrofuels is still in its infancy, and many challenges need to be overcome before electrofuels are brought to market on a large scale. First, this paper gives an overview of the current status of electrofuels regarding technologies, efficiencies and costs. Second, as electrofuels production requires significant amounts of CO2 and electricity, the feasibility to produce enough electrofuels to supply all ships bunkering in Sweden, with regionally produced electricity and regionally emitted CO2, and the amount of CO2 that is required to supply all ships globally is evaluated in two case studies assessing supply potential.