What is the synthetic fuel that has changed Germany’s mind about the veto on combustion cars?

What is the synthetic fuel that has changed Germany’s mind about the veto on combustion cars?

Brussel·lesAfter fifteen months of negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council and a lot of tug-of-war between the various members, all that remained was the final signature, which is usually a mere formality that goes completely unnoticed, for the European Union to approve the ban on sell combustion vehicles on EU territory from 2035. In the last step of the legislative process, however, Germany, which is the member state with the most powerful car industry, has blocked it and put a new condition on the table : to continue allowing the manufacture of engines that burn synthetic fuels with zero pollutant emissions.

Subscribe to the Economia newsletter
Information that affects your pocket

Sign up for it

Because? This type of fuel does not pollute and can be used in all types of combustion vehicles, including trucks and aircraft, and without the need to change existing infrastructure and engines. In addition, it is not extracted directly from nature, like oil or gas, but is produced from a process of chemical transformation of water and carbon dioxide. Specifically, through an electrolysis process – with electricity from renewable sources – which separates the oxygen and hydrogen particles from the water and ends up generating the so-called renewable hydrogen. On the other hand, carbon dioxide is captured from the air or from an industrial facility. And, finally, this renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide is used to manufacture zero-emission synthetic fuels.

Berlin puts pressure on the European Commission

The fact of putting the year 2035 as a deadline had already created a small political crisis in the German executive between the environmentalist and liberal government partners. However, they ended up accepting the date in exchange for Brussels committing to prepare new regulations that would allow engines that burn synthetic fuels with zero polluting emissions to be manufactured after 2035. However, at the time the vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, assured that “for now” synthetic fuels with zero emissions “do not seem very realistic because they have prohibitive prices”.

In this regard, Germany now wants a firmer commitment from the EU executive to end up allowing the sale of synthetic fuel cars beyond 2035. “We are convinced that the electric car is the way forward, but we need other options, such as hydrogen technology and the e-fuelsespecially for heavy vehicles,” said the German State Secretary for Transport, Michael Theurer, on Monday.

As for Italy, which had already given its approval to the regulations, it is now also asking for an exception to be made with biofuels. “The use of responsible fuels, compatible with combustion engines, will contribute to a reduction in emissions without demanding unattainable economic sacrifices,” argues the Italian Minister of Energy Transition, Gilberto Pichetto, in a letter he has sent to the rest of European partners.

It is in this context that the Presidency of the Council has decided to remove from the agenda the final vote on the regulations, scheduled for March 7, and has said that it will put it back on the table when the positions are clearer. In fact, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, this weekend will personally intervene in the negotiations to try to speed up the agreement. In any case, however, the regulations could go ahead despite the contrary vote of Italy and Germany.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick