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A Novel Approach to Generating Electrofuel from Carbon Dioxide and Green Hydrogen

A proposal for generating electrofuel from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide through a variety of techniques has been developed by VTT and its collaborators in the E-fuel project. At AGCO Power’s Linnavuori plant in Nokia, Finland, on November 21st, 2023, a diesel-powered tractor was used for the first time to test this paraffinic e-fuel. The new electrofuel is a significant advancement in creating sustainable fuel options since it can be used in vehicles that are challenging to electrify.

A Novel Approach to Generating Electrofuel from Carbon Dioxide and Green Hydrogen

Image Credit: Scharfsinn/Shutterstock.com

All facets of life must drastically shift to meet global climate targets. Carbon capture and utilization are essential to transition to sustainable fuel alternatives for transportation.

High-temperature electrolysis, carbon capture, and Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbon synthesis have all been combined in the VTT-led E-fuel project to create electrofuel production for commercial and industrial scales. Green hydrogen production is now far more efficient than it was in the past, thanks to new techniques.

Using Finnish technology, we have succeeded in producing e-diesel, or electrofuel, from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide on a pre-commercial scale. The fuel can be used to replace fossil diesel in sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy road transport and shipping. It can also be used in machinery. Our next step is to obtain information on the usability of the fuel in a field test.

Juha Lehtonen, Research Professor, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Electrofuel Being Tested at the AGCO Power Factory in Nokia

The project has created hundreds of kilograms of synthetic hydrocarbons for use as sustainable transportation fuel. After that, the hydrocarbons were processed at Neste to create a drop-in paraffinic diesel, which AGCO Power was testing in its Linnavuori facility in Nokia at the time.

The Valtra T235D tractor, powered by AGCO Power's 74 LFTN diesel engine, was fuelled with the new e-diesel and, during the test drive, which lasted several hours, fuel consumption and the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, fine particles and other substances in the exhaust emissions were measured. The e-diesel produced in the project is expected to be of high quality and meet current road diesel fuel standards.

Kari Aaltonen, Director, Engineering, AGCO Power

New Electrofuel Can be Used in Existing Diesel Engines

Future emission reductions cannot be achieved with a single solution. The engine plant of AGCO Power is also devoting resources to research and development, as well as investigating various avenues for mitigating emissions originating from agriculture.

Aaltonen added, “We are developing solutions for different types of machinery to meet the needs of farmers, for example with electric batteries, hydrogen, methane and methanol.

It is crucial that there be other ways to drastically cut emissions and the usage of fossil fuels outside of directly electrifying transportation.

Sustainable fuels suitable for the current diesel engine fleet, such as drop-in e-diesel, can be blended with fossil diesel completely freely and still meet the quality requirements of paraffinic diesel according to the EN 15940 standard,” Aaltonen added.

Based on prior experience with paraffinic fuels, Päivi Aakko-Saksa, Principal Research Scientist at VTT, states that the e-diesel under test is anticipated to be a more environmentally benign substitute for fossil diesel in terms of local emissions.

By analyzing the results of the Nokia test run, we will see whether e-diesel is also an environmentally friendly alternative with regard to harmful exhaust emissions.

Päivi Aakko-Saksa, Principal Research Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Source: https://www.vttresearch.com/en

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