As ‘zero emissions’ electric motorcycles continue to gain popularity – Bosch has proposed a different alternative: a synthetic fuel that minimises emissions, while absorbing CO2 during its production.
Of course, there is no true ‘zero emissions’ vehicle. An electric car or motorcycle may not physically generate emissions, but CO2 is inevitable when producing the electricity needed to power the vehicle. Even if that electricity is generated in a sustainable way (using solar, wind, wave etc.) emissions will have been released into the environment as part of the production process of the energy capture device (never mind the actual vehicle, or its batteries).
As an alternative, Bosch’s idea is to make a ‘perfect” fuel’, minimising emissions from today’s fossil fuel powered engines. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that the entire process, from production to use, is carbon neutral. During the manufacturing process, the synthetic fuel will capture carbon dioxide (instead of emitting) – and then, when it is burned in the engine (and emits CO2 back into the atmosphere), the total balance should be close to zero CO2 emissions.
Ultimately, Bosch is focused on ‘preventing’ CO2 emissions – attempting to ensure that between manufacturing and burning, its fuel does not increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Sadly, the production of synthetic fuel is an expensive process. According to Bosch the process they have developed will lead to a cost between €1 and €1.2 per litre, excluding taxes and transport costs. What that means is that the fuel could cost almost twice the current price.
Nevertheless, if it were used on a wide scale, Bosch estimates that by 2050 2.8 gigatonnes of CO2 would have been prevented from entering the atmosphere. And, importantly, it would be appropriate for the using the cars and bikes we have right now.
Bosch are looking for partners to help kick-start the project … so we’ll keep an eye on how this progresses.