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Drop-in and Hydrogen-based Biofuels for Maritime Transport: Country-based Assessment of Climate Change Impacts in Europe up to 2050


Alternative fuels are crucial to decarbonize the European maritime transport, but their net climate benefits vary with the type of fuel and production country. In this study, we assess the energy potential and climate change mitigation benefits of using agricultural and forest residues in different European countries for drop-in (Fast Pyrolysis, Hydrothermal Liquefaction, and Gasification to Fischer-Tropsch fuels or Bio-Synthetic Natural Gas) and hydrogen-based biofuels (hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol) with or without carbon capture and storage (CCS). Our results show the combinations of countries and biofuel options that successfully achieve the decarbonization targets set by the FuelEU Maritime initiative for the next years, including a prospective analysis that include technological changes projected for the biofuel supply chains until 2050. With the current technologies, the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential per year at a European scale is obtained with bio-synthetic natural gas and hydrothermal liquefaction. Among carbon-free biofuels, ammonia currently has higher mitigation, but hydrogen can achieve a lower GHG intensity per unit of energy with the projected decarbonization of the electricity mixes until 2050. The full deployment of CCS can further accelerate the decarbonization of the maritime sector. Choosing the most suitable renewable fuels requires a regional perspective and a transition roadmap where countries coordinate actions to meet ambitious climate targets.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway through the projects: Bio4-7 Seas (302276), Bio4Fuels (257622), and BEST (288047).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Norway

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