Skip to content

An Overview of Promising Alternative Fuels for Road, Rail, Air, and Inland Waterway Transport in Germany


To solve the challenge of decarbonizing the transport sector, a broad variety of alternative fuels based on different concepts, including Power-to-Gas and Power-to-Liquid, and propulsion systems, have been developed. The current research landscape is investigating either a selection of fuel options or a selection of criteria, a comprehensive overview is missing so far. This study aims to close this gap by providing a holistic analysis of existing fuel and drivetrain options, spanning production to utilization. For this purpose, a case study for Germany is performed considering different vehicle classes in road, rail, inland waterway, and air transport. The evaluated criteria on the production side include technical maturity, costs, as well as environmental impacts, whereas, on the utilization side, possible blending with existing fossil fuels and the satisfaction of the required mission ranges are evaluated. Overall, the fuels and propulsion systems, Methanol-to-Gasoline, Fischer–Tropsch diesel and kerosene, hydrogen, battery-electric propulsion, HVO, DME, and natural gas are identified as promising future options. All of these promising fuels could reach near-zero greenhouse gas emissions bounded to some mandatory preconditions. However, the current research landscape is characterized by high insecurity with regard to fuel costs, depending on the predicted range and length of value chains.

Funding source: Funding of the center of excellence “Virtual Institute—Power to Gas and Heat” (EFRE-0400111, EFRE-0400151) by the “Operational Program for the promotion of investments in growth and employment for North Rhine-Westphalia from the European fund for regional development” (OP EFRE NRW) through the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia is gratefully acknowledged. Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)—491111487.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error