eFuels for motor yachts and motor boats -
what opportunities lie in synthetic fuels?

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What is eFuel?

eFuels, also known as power-to-liquid fuels, are synthetic fuels produced with electricity from renewable sources. These fuels can help reduce carbon emissions across the transportation sector – including motor yachts and powerboats.

Synthetic fuels have a similar composition and a range of properties to fossil fuels, such as gasoline or diesel. These can be burned without releasing CO2 or other harmful substances.

Are synthetic fuels a real alternative to diesel for motor yachts?

Synthetic fuels can be an alternative to diesel for motor yachts, as they have similar properties to diesel and can be used in existing internal combustion engines.

So the biggest advantage of eFuels is that they can be used directly in the existing fleet of cars, trucks, planes and ships. And also for yachts. No retrofitting or investment in infrastructure is required. Motor yacht and motor boat owners can use their vehicles as before – only the energy source does not come from fossil energy, but from renewable energy.

eFuels can be refueled like conventional diesel .

eFuels production: How are eFuels produced?

eFuels or synthetic fuels are produced from renewable energies such as wind, sun or biomass. The production of eFuels takes place in several steps:

  • Electrolysis: Electrolysis is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then stored for further use.
  • Synthesis: The hydrogen produced is combined with carbon dioxide (CO2) or carbon monoxide (CO) to produce synthetic methane (CH4) or synthetic hydrocarbon (CmHn).
  • Processing: The synthetic methane or hydrocarbon is processed to remove impurities and turn it into a suitable fuel for use in vehicles or machinery.

There are different types of eFuels that can be produced in different ways. For example, synthetic methane can be created by combining hydrogen and CO2 from the air. Alternatively, synthetic hydrocarbons can be produced from biomass by converting biomass to carbon and hydrogen, which are then synthesized to produce eFuels.

Buying eFuels: Can eFuels also be offered “on the water”?

Yes, today’s fuel at water filling stations can be replaced 1:1 by eFuels. Overall, it is assumed in Germany that eFuels will be available in the next few months, at least as an admixture at roadside filling stations. For refueling “on the water”, this means that if there is sufficient demand, their use will also be possible in motorboats and motor yachts in a similar period of time.

eFuels costs: What does a liter of synthetic diesel cost?

At present, increasing quantities of e-fuels are being produced in various test facilities and laboratories. However, the cost of producing larger quantities would currently still be higher than that of fossil fuels. However, various studies assume that production costs will be around 1 euro per liter in the foreseeable future if production technology is consistently developed further.

When will eFuels come to Germany?

eFuels are already available in Germany – but currently still in limited quantities and in specialized applications. There are currently several projects and initiatives in Germany aimed at increasing the production of eFuels and promoting their use in the transport sector.

One example is the “Haru Oni” project being carried out by Siemens Energy in Chile . This uses renewable energy from wind turbines to produce hydrogen by electrolysis. The hydrogen produced is then combined with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to produce synthetic methane. The synthetic methane is then imported to Germany and used as eFuel for use in vehicles and machinery, as well as motor yachts and motor boats.
There are also German companies such as Sunfire or Ineratec that manufacture and market eFuels in Germany. These companies produce eFuels from renewable energies such as wind power or solar energy by combining electrolysis and synthesis processes.
Production of eFuels is expected to increase in the coming years as demand for clean and sustainable transportation fuel increases.

Do eFuels reduce the risk of diesel fugacity?

Anyone who uses their motor yacht or motor boat only seasonally is familiar with the term diesel fugacity. This is a biological phenomenon in the yacht or boat tank due to a suspension of engine operation for months. The so-called diesel plague is caused by fossil suspended matter, i.e. diesel fuel microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts or fungi). The result can be the deposition of visible bio-sludge in the tank , which can cause damage to the yacht or boat engine.

Synthetic fuels greatly reduce this diesel fugacity risk in motor yachts and powerboats, since their use produces hardly any suspended matter of this kind in the tank.

What advantage do eFuels have over electric propulsion?

For motor yachts and powerboats, there are some advantages of eFuels over electric drives that may be significant:

  • Longer range: eFuels have a higher energy density than batteries and therefore enable longer ranges. This is particularly advantageous for larger motorboats that have to cover longer distances and require more power.
  • Fast refueling: With eFuels, a boat can be refueled quickly, similar to conventional fuels. In contrast, electric boats require longer charging times to recharge, which can limit the availability of the boat.
  • Lower operating costs: While eFuels are currently more expensive to produce than fossil fuels, their costs may decrease in the future. Compared to the high cost of replacing batteries in electric boats, eFuels can be cheaper in the long run.
  • Compatibility with existing boats: eFuels can be used in existing combustion engines, allowing easy integration into existing boats without the need for extensive conversion work. This can reduce the investment costs of switching to clean energy.

What can recreational shipping contribute to Germany’s climate goals?

The recreational shipping industry can contribute to Germany’s climate goals by reducing its emissions and switching to clean energy sources. Here are some ways this can be accomplished:

  1. Use of alternative fuels: The use of eFuels or other renewable fuels can reduce emissions from recreational boats. eFuels are synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources that can be used in existing internal combustion engines.
  2. Switch to electric propulsion: Electric propulsion is emission-free and can reduce the environmental impact of recreational boats. However, the switch to electric drives requires an appropriate charging infrastructure and may not be suitable for all applications.
  3. Optimizing engine performance: By optimizing engine performance and driving efficiently, recreational boats can reduce their fuel consumption and thus their emissions.
  4. Use of solar energy: The use of solar panels on recreational boats can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce environmental impact.
  5. Refraining from unnecessary driving: By planning trips wisely and refraining from unnecessary driving, recreational boaters can reduce their fuel consumption and thus their emissions.

It is important that the recreational shipping industry actively participates in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve Germany’s climate targets. Through a combination of these measures, recreational boats can make an important contribution to reducing emissions and help reduce environmental impact.

What role does motorized shipping play in a macroeconomic perspective?

Motorized shipping plays an important role in a macroeconomic perspective, as it is used for both freight and passenger transportation.

In freight transport, the most important sectors are inland waterways and maritime shipping. Inland navigation is of great importance for the transport of goods on rivers and canals in Germany. It is largely indispensable for the transportation of bulk commodities such as coal, ore, mineral oil, building materials and agricultural products. Maritime shipping plays an important role in international trade and the export of goods. Sea transport is particularly important for trade with countries outside Europe.

In passenger transport, motorized shipping is particularly important in the tourism sector . River cruises and sea voyages are enjoying growing popularity. Passenger ships can also play an important role in public transport in metropolitan areas, for example on rivers or in ports.

Motorized shipping also has an important role as part of the maritime industry, including shipbuilding, ship repair, marine equipment, and port operations.

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