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Synthetic Fuels on the Behind The Glass Podcast

Behind the Glass has just released a podcast focusing on synthetic fuels.

Instead of making me excited about synthetic fuels, the podcast left me questioning the entire concept.

Instead of persuading me that synthetic fuels are on the horizon and will save the IC engine the podcast has left me asking fundamental questions about the whole concept.

For a start the emissions from synthetic fuels is exactly the same as the emissions from fossil fuels. I was under the impression that synthetic fuels somehow had “cleaner” (lets not get in to the “are the emissions bad or not” conversation in this article) emissions than fossil fuels and only required slight modification of a normal engine ergo this is why companies like Porsche were pursuing it. But apparently no. Synthetic fuels are exactly the same as normal petrol (or diesel?) it is just more difficult and costly to make. But at the same time better for the environment(?)

So this begs the question what exactly is the point in synthetic fuels?

Apparently the point is CO2 is sequestered in the manufacturing of synthetic fuels and this cancels out the CO2 emissions of the synthetic fuel when it is burnt.

Which then begs the question, if what we are trying to do is make the emissions from fuels carbon neutral, why don’t we just plant trees or hemp and continue using oil?

Surely planting a tree or a hemp plant is easier than constructing massive wind farms and massive factories to create the chemicals needed to make the synthetic fuel.

Useless Patent?

With the information I got from the Behind the Glass podcast it sounds to me like an oil company or companies have a patent on the process to make syn fuels but it’s completely useless because we don’t need to do it because we have the oil in the ground.

It sounds to me that perhaps the oil companies have lobbied governments in Europe to massively cut down on the amount of oil that can be used in order for this patent to actually be worth something. And would it also be a stretch to suggest that the manufacturing of synthetic fuels could also be more profitable for the oil companies with the patent than making fuel from the oil in the ground?

Synthetic Fuels – In short

Before the podcast I was pro syn fuels and couldn’t wait for the manufacturing process to reach scale.

Now I can’t see the point in synthetic fuels at all. The goal of synthetic fuels is to be carbon neutral and yet we can make fossil fuels carbon neutral today by simply planting trees and/or hemp to offset the CO2 emissions of the fossil fuels.

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This page was last modified Mar 14, 2023 @ 8:47 am

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