What are the problems with alternative fuels

These are the fuels of the future

There is a little bit of biofuel in every tank. Up to seven percent may be added to standard diesel and five percent to gasoline. The bottom line and together with pure biodiesel, which, however, hardly plays a role, five to six percent of fuel in Germany is made from renewable raw materials.

Corn for tortilla or gasoline

There was once more hope in the subject, but the economic crisis of 2008 combined with the steep rise in food prices made it clear that there is a connection between tank and plate. Biofuels can easily compete with food.

Corn can be used to make tortilla or gasoline, but only one at a time. The market share in Germany has stagnated since then. However, this admixture would currently avoid around ten million tons of the greenhouse gas CO₂, according to the German Bioenergy Association. At 160 million tons in the transport sector as a whole.

The cultivation of biofuel sources takes up a lot of space

In fact, around two thirds of the alternative fuels come from specially grown raw materials. Often made from local rapeseed and grain. But palm oil and sugar cane are also playing an increasingly important role. In total, around 13 percent of the arable land in Germany is required for the five to six percent of the fuel market, here or elsewhere in the world. This shows that this form of biofuel production requires an extremely large amount of space and is therefore problematic. It quickly reaches its limits.

However, the manufacturers are hoping for the conversion of residual materials into fuel. A third of the supply is already made from waste materials, mainly from deep-frying fat. However, there is not that much of it and that is why the focus is currently on straw as a raw material source. A study sees potential there that could sustainably supply seven million cars in Germany. However, straw is not worthless waste for disposal. It has an ecological function in the soil and costs money as a raw material.

Batteries for cars - biofuel for ships and planes

Technically, the processes for producing fuels from biomass are more or less mature. The problem is more the economic side. The automotive industry has now fully relied on battery-electric drives and sees this as the most efficient and cheapest way into the future. However, liquid fuels have a higher energy density and experts therefore expect that they could play an important role for a longer period of time, especially in ship or aircraft propulsion.