Bosch Invents Carbon-Neutral Synthetic Fuel

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Reducing greenhouse gases will be a huge part of transportation in the coming years, as countries get more serious about climate change and the factors that cause it. This should be obvious, if not already present.

Vehicle emissions have put tremendous pressure on governments, and we are already seeing a trend in Europe for vehicle manufacturers pushing to stop the production of gasoline-powered vehicles within the few decades.

This puts electric motorcycles, cars, and trucks at the forefront of future transportation plans, but Bosch has another idea to solve our transportation and climate needs: synthetic fuels.

The concept of synthetic fuels isn’t new, but the cost and benefits of synthetic fuels haven’t caught up to good ol’ petroleum, especially when it comes to general consumer vehicles.

However, Bosch has an interesting new fuel that could help solve one of the central issues around gasoline and powered vehicles, the emission of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

The German company’s new fuel and manufacturing process is pretty clever, as it uses hydrogen from water and carbon from carbon dioxide to form the hydrocarbon chains necessary to produce gasoline, diesel, or even a substitute to natural gas (oxygen is produced as a byproduct in all three cases).

When the process uses electricity from renewable sources, the overall use-cycle of the fuel becomes carbon-neutral, as the carbon dioxide produced during combustion is less than the carbon dioxide used to manufacture the fuel.

Electricity is the big rate-limiter in this formula though, as massive amounts of energy are required to make the chemistry happen, but when coupled to clean and renewable sources, Bosch’s synthetic fuel production becomes quite feasible from both a cost and emissions point-of-view.

As of right now, a gallon of synthetic fuel still costs massively more than its organic counterpart, but Bosch hopes that with economies of scale, synthetic fuel blends could become more affordable, and help to serve as a bridge to cleaner transportation options.

Source: Bosch via Ars Technica