Finland's VTT develops electrofuel derived from green hydrogen, CO2
The e-fuel project of Finnish research institute VTT and its partners have developed a concept for producing electrofuel from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide using a combination of different methods.The paraffinic e-fuel was tested for the first time on a diesel-powered tractor at AGCO Power's Linnavuori factory in Nokia recently.
The new electrofuel is suitable for vehicles that are difficult to electrify, and is therefore an important step in the development of sustainable fuel solutions, VTT claims. The project has combined high-temperature electrolysis, carbon capture and Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbon synthesis to develop electrofuel production for commercial and industrial scale.
"Using Finnish technology, we have succeeded in producing e-diesel, or electrofuel, from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide on a pre-commercial scale", said Professor Juha Lehtonen of the VTT Research.
"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", he added.
The E-fuel project is co-funded by Business Finland, VTT and its corporate partners, and is valued at more than €6 million. In May 2023, a demonstration environment for the production of Power-to-Liquid (PtL) electric fuels was launched by VTT in collaboration with a number of corporate partners.
The project consists of three components, namely a solid oxide electrolyser unit, a carbon dioxide recovery unit, and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel synthesis unit. It has produced synthetic hydrocarbons, which is refined at Neste into a drop-in paraffinic diesel, and tested on diesel engines at AGCO Power's Linnavuori plant in Nokia.
"We are also developing solutions for different types of machinery to meet the needs of farmers, for example with electric batteries, hydrogen, methane and methanol," said AGCO Power's Director of Engineering, Kari Aaltonen.
It is important that emissions and fossil fuel use can be significantly reduced by means other than the direct electrification of transport, he added.
Emerging methods of green hydrogen production with higher efficiency and affordability can enable the development and scaling of sustainable e-fuels in the coming years.