Synthetic Petrol – Do We Really Need to Switch to Electric…?

Do we really need to move to battery power? How about Synthetic Petrol. We discuss its pros and cons and various initiatives that are currently undertaken…

People around the world are going gung-ho for electric vehicles as the only alternative for the IC engines. Everyone knows the number of pollutants engines running on fossil fuels release into the atmosphere. 

But is switching to electric vehicles the only option.? Obviously No! There are various other technologies that have come up and look promising. One among them is Synthetic fuel. For end customers Synthetic petrol works as the same way as regular petrol currently – ie they visit a fuel pump and get their tanks filled.

Understanding Synthetic Fuel

Synthetic fuel is similar to petrol and diesel however carbon emission percentage will be very low as compared to burning fossil fuels. Interestingly, it is theorized that the low carbon emission from a vehicle running on synthetic fuel can be reused to make more synthetic fuel. 

This may sound futuristic but it is possible. Just the way electric vehicles were a fancy concept a decade or two ago and today, they are a big reality. 

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How to create Synthetic Fuel?

Generally, carbon monoxide or dioxide that is present in the atmosphere is extracted. It is, then, blended with hydrogen derived from H2O or water. There is another way that uses the farm wastes, woods, plants by converting them to gas. Then hydrogen is fused with this gas to create synthetic fuel. 

The process is complex but it’s not impossible. Vehicles will still emit carbon but at a lower proportion and the carbon that vehicles release will be reused for creating synthetic fuels.

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Possible Shortcomings of Synthetic Fuel

The major drawback of the environment-friendly fuel will be its price. Creating synthetic fuel for commercial purposes will require a massive amount of energy. Thus, it will make the production costly and the resulting product expensive too. 

This means you may expect the synthetic fuel to be 5 to 6 times costlier than what you pay for petrol or diesel. 

As we are talking of futuristic technology, the cost may further increase at that time depending upon the various financial constraints. 

Synthetic Petrol

Initiatives regarding Synthetic Fuel Development

Some top European automakers are trying their hands on creating synthetic petrol for commercial use. Porsche and Ducati have active investments in Siemen’s Haru Oni project. Using wind power in an exclusive production facility based in Chile synthetic fuel will be developed. By 2024, the aim is to produce up to 55 million liters of synthetic petrol.

Popular automotive BMW has also joined hands with a US-based company Prometheus Fuels to create synthetic fuel from natural sources such as air, water, and electricity.

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Here in India…

As of now, the Indian government is keen on encouraging electric vehicles among the population. Among other measures, it is considering exempting fees on registering electric vehicles.

Prominent automobile companies like Bajaj and TVS have already launched their electric two-wheelers. Many start-ups from big names are already trying to set foot in this space.

Makers have asked the Government to be specific with its long term plan regarding sustainable mobility. It wants to understand the emission levels what we want to achieve rather than pushing specific technologies.

-by Swayam Prasad

Source – MCN