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Until now hydrogen has mainly been used as a fuel in combination with fuel cells. However, it can also be used to fuel internal combustion engines and guarantees absolute CO2-neutrality.
Hydrogen is produced by means of electrolysis. In this process, electricity is used to split water into its separate elements, hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). The unused oxygen is returned to the environment, while the hydrogen obtained is used as fuel.
Hydrogen is already considered to be CO2-neutral in the combustion process.
Synthetic fuel is obtained from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2).
The first step is the electrolysis of water and its splitting into oxygen and hydrogen. The next stage in the process is to enrich the hydrogen obtained with carbon dioxide. The end product is synthetic fuel, which can be used in liquid or gaseousform depending on the degree of further processing.
As electricity is needed to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels, they are also referred to as e-fuels, electricity-based fuels and Power-to-X.
The nature of environmental friendliness means that not only must alternative fuels be CO2-friendly, but they must also be produced in a climate-neutral way.
The generation of electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or water power is therefore essential in the hydrogen production process. Ideally, even surplus electricity or electricity that is not immediately required can be used for the process.
Compared to hydrogen combustion, the combustion of synthetic fuels still releases a small amount of carbon dioxide. This is used again in the value chain for the production of e-fuels. Additional CO2 can also be retrieved from the ambient air or from industrial waste gases.
While electric battery powered motors are becoming increasingly widespread, especially in the passenger car sector, combustion engine concepts with alternative fuels are primarily suitable for heavy commercial vehicles and for marine or aviation applications.
• high energy density for long ranges in high-performance end applications
• very good alternative fuel storage possibilities
• ideal for use in areas without a continuous power supply
• rapid refueling for immediate re-use of vehicles and machines
• environmentally-friendly alternative for applications where electric motors are only feasible with severe restrictions