Synthetic fuels are a broad range of fuels produced by converting syngas to liquid hydrocarbons with short to medium/long chains. They can be produced from natural gas, and other non-biomass and non-fossil fuel feedstocks, and contain the combustible elements carbon or hydrogen.

Feedstock & Technologies

Synfuels are also more narrowly defined based on feedstocks: Gas-to-Liquids (natural gas based), Biomass-to-Liquids, Coal-to-Liquids.

Synfuels can also be produced using renewable power to produce electrofuels or e-fuels. These are produced using captured carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, together with hydrogen obtained from electricity sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power.

Primary technologies/processes at the core of synthetic fuel production are Fischer Tropsch synthesis (FT), and Gas Fermentation.

Carbon capture technologies such as ‘Direct Air Capture’ (DAC) of ambient or flue stack CO2 can be used to create a synthetic crude for co-processing, or refined directly into renewable hydrocarbon fuels. Also included in this category are ‘electro-fuels’ or ‘e-fuels,’ which are fuels derived using ‘green’ hydrogen produced through electrolysis using renewable energy (or ‘blue’ hydrogen produced using carbon capture and sequestration.)

  • In addition to non-biogenic wastes, non-fossil synthetic crude and finished fuels can be derived from direct air capture (DAC) of ambient air or flue gas CO2.
  • ‘Electro-fuels’ or ‘e-fuels,’ such as green ammonia, are derived using nitrogen and green hydrogen produced through electrolysis using renewable energy.

Applications

Synthetic fuels tend to be compatible primarily but not exclusively with distillate-pool applications: heavy duty trucks, aviation, rail, marine, mining.