Substituting Fossil Transport Fuels with Sustainable eFuels

Over the last 18 months, fossil fuel prices have soared due to the volatility in international oil and gas markets further exacerbated by geopolitical insecurity. This, combined with the global drive towards zero carbon solutions, has led to fossil-fuel-dependent industries looking to cheaper low-carbon options. One answer is eFuels, which are types of synthetic fuels produced by synthesizing renewably-produced hydrogen with captured carbon to create a new environmentally-friendly hydro-carbon fuel.

eFuels are a high-energy-dense liquid fuel that can be ‘dropped-in’ as a direct replacement for existing petroleum fuels used in shipping and aviation and, in effect, offer a chemically identical low carbon alterative to replace oil-derived fuels. eFuels could provide the missing link needed to decarbonize heavy transport sectors, whilst making best use of existing transport assets and abundant low carbon electricity. However, its inception and future rely heavily on improving low carbon hydrogen production practices and efficient carbon capture technologies.


As one of the highest emitting sector of the global economy, solving the challenge of decarbonizing transport, in particular high-carbon heavy transport sectors such as aviation and shipping, is one of the greatest challenges on the path to net zero. The two most-discussed options are electric and fuel cell power. But electrification suffers from the relatively low energy density of solid-state batteries, while hydrogen fuel cells lower volumetric energy density would require a large tank space eating into the commercially available payload. Thus, these options are not an immediate solution, nor do they address the substantial sunken costs in existing infrastructure. This has the transport industry assessing various other technologies, including eFuels, in an attempt to decarbonize heavy transport.


The eFuels have a much higher energy density than hydrogen and can be stored at room temperature and pressure. They also have the ability to act as ‘drop-in fuels’ in the existing fossil fuel supply chain and power systems. Specifically, as they are able to integrate into existing filling stations, refineries, storage terminals etc., eFuels could allow for a rapid and seamless transition to meet some demand for low carbon fuel. This could make eFuels important for airlines and shipping which have a large existing combustion engine fleet. Substituting eFuels into existing assets (such as ships, aircrafts, and industrial engines) rather than scrapping them, which would be necessary in the case of other heavy transport decarbonisation options, would avoid the cost and carbon emissions associated with replacing the vehicle fleet.


Though eFuels have their advantages, the production method presents a number of barriers that could prevent efficient and cost-effective adoption into the low carbon fuel market. The current conversion processes have a rather low efficiency and high cost compared to available fossil fuels. They also struggle to produce the required quantities to significantly affect the market and reduce the emissions.


WOIMA Ecosystem

The WOIMA Ecosystem is built around the wasteWOIMA® waste-to-energy power plant using an abundantly available fuel source, waste, and offering sustainable power for all other ecosystem processes. Capturing CO2 directly from the power plant’s flue gas stream offers significant efficiency benefits and synergies. Combining the green hydrogen and captured CO2 results in synthetic natural gas (SNG) which can be further liquefied to LSNG. The WOIMA Ecosystem is capable of transforming over 95% of the incoming waste fuel into valuable products and energy.


eFuels represent an attractive option alongside the more familiar technologies of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but heavy transport will never be a single solution industry. Whilst eFuels are unlikely to entirely replace conventional fuels, they will have a role to play as part of a diverse energy mix for heavy transport, where electrification, hydrogen and synthetic fuels will all contribute to decarbonizing specific segments of the market. When looking at the whole value chain, it is important to ensure that the energy powering the eFuels production is also carbon neutral. This is where the WOIMA Ecosystem plays a key role.



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WOIMA Corporation is a Finnish supplier of best-in-class waste-to-value products, projects and services worldwide. We have developed solutions that enable us, and the customer, to transform and recycle virtually any waste stream into raw materials and energy.  At WOIMA we combine Finnish engineering know-how in waste management with power generation design expertise. These solutions are used in Finland every day. They support the circular economy ideology and ensure that less than 1% of Finland’s waste ends up in landfills.

Our mission is to improve quality of life both locally and globally, as well as empower people to utilize waste as a commodity. Our decades of international project management experience ensure an on-time, in-budget and high-quality WOIMA solution delivery across the globe.