Germany has hit a brick wall on clean energy, postponing a ban on internal-combustion automobile engines. Let’s start there…
EU Drafts Plan to Allow E-Fuel Combustion Engine Cars
Reuters reports EU Drafts Plan to Allow E-Fuel Combustion Engine Cars
The European Commission has drafted a plan to allow sales of new cars with internal combustion engines after 2035 if they run only on climate neutral e-fuels, as it tries to resolve a spat with Germany over moves to phase out combustion engine cars.
The draft proposal, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, suggests creating a new type of vehicle category in the European Union for cars that can only run on carbon neutral fuels.
Such vehicles would have to use technology that would prevent them from driving if other fuels are used, the draft said.
The proposal could offer a route for carmakers to keep selling combustion engine vehicles after 2035, the date when a planned EU law is set to ban the sale of new CO2-emitting cars.
Preposterous E-Fuel Assumptions
Eurointelligence comments on E-Fuel Assumptions.
ARD German TV reports on a study by the Potsdam institute for climate impact research, which reveals the utter lack of reality in the German debate about e-fuels. Even in the best-case scenario, Germany will struggle to get enough e-fuels to meet its indispensable demand, from shipping, air transport and the chemical industry. These will all still require liquid hydrocarbons as their energy source. In other words, there won’t be anything left for cars. The whole FDP debate about the exemption for e-fuelled power cars after 2035 is a smoke screen.
The politics of this is that the FDP is trying to arrest its political decline by appealing to rural voters, who are dependent on the motorcar for transport. A recent poll in Germany has shown that around two thirds of the population opposes the end of the fuel-driven car.
E-fuels are based on the extraction of hydrogen from water through a process called electrolysis. In a second stage the hydrogen then combines with carbon dioxide to produce hydrocarbons. The idea is to use green energy for the production of e-fuels, for use by ships and airplanes. The same goes for parts of the chemical industry. Together, they account for 40% of Germany’s total demand for liquid hydrocarbons. The institute’s simulation assumes the relatively optimistic assumption that air transport stays at current levels.
A far more likely scenario is that there won’t be enough e-fuels around even to satisfy the indispensable demand. So far, only 60 production facilities are currently in the pipeline worldwide. Of those, only a small fraction are funded. Even if they all get funded, they will only produce a tiny fraction of what Germany itself demands. The idea that there is enough left for cars is completely unrealistic.
What this is telling us, beyond the petty FDP politics, is that the Germans are fighting tooth and nail to squeeze the last hydrocarbons into their cars, rather than focus on next generation technologies. All for the sake of a couple of percentage points in the polls.
It is the classic losers’ strategy.
Europe Backtracks on Its Gas-Car Ban
The WSJ reports Europe Backtracks on Its Gas-Car Ban
The implausibility of a net-zero carbon energy future is becoming so obvious that even Europeans are starting to notice. Witness the weekend decision to step back from the ban on internal-combustion automobile engines that the European Union had intended to implement by 2035.
The eurocrats in Brussels had formulated the ban as part of their plan to reach net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050. But what regulators imagine would replace conventional engines remains a mystery. Battery technologies don’t exist to replace fossil fuels in driving distance or ease of refueling, and no one can say if or when such batteries will materialize.
Electric vehicles also require rare-earth minerals often sourced from dirty mines in China. They’re only as green and affordable as the electricity used to charge them. In Europe that means coal-fired power for which consumers pay a huge price owing to the costs of forcing intermittent renewables such as wind and solar into the grid.
Resistance from Berlin and several other European governments has forced Brussels into all but abandoning its engine ban.
Consumers will be allowed to buy internal-combustion autos as long as those cars can run on synthetic fuels, which are fuels made from captured carbon or renewable energy. Brussels still seems to hope that these cars will run only on such “e-fuels” by that deadline. But doubts about the technological feasibility of that pledge may explain why environmental groups were aghast at the weekend decision.
No Country is Prepared
Electric cars are coming, like it or not. No one anywhere is prepared for it.
Germany is scheming preposterous e-fuel ways to make it appear to work. Eurointelligence picks up on that point but misses the broad picture.
One cannot set a date and force it to happen if the science does not match.
In the US, Biden is forcing electric vehicles whether the infrastructure is ready or not. And it’s obvious the infrastructure is not ready and likely won’t be ready.
Nonetheless, California, Oregon and Washington state still have internal-combustion-engines bans slated for for 2035.
A Big Green Mess in Germany With Coal a Stunning 31 Percent of Electricity
Meanwhile, please note A Big Green Mess in Germany With Coal a Stunning 31 Percent of Electricity
Germany managed to avoid a harsh winter from the reduced supply of natural gas from Russia.
It did so by ramping up the use of coal. Ironically, the Greens backed this policy.
Hoot of the Day
In reference to California, Oregon and Washington, the WSJ conclusion is my hoot of the day: “You know your state capital has taken a wrong turn when your lawmakers would do well to learn a lesson from Brussels.“
And in case you missed it, please note Biden’s Energy Policy Mandates Cause Severe Shortage of Electrical Steel and Transformers
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