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E-fuels better than batteries?

Bill Gates has spoken out in favour of alternative fuels, which Porsche, among others, is also researching. Especially for larger vehicles and other means of transport such as ships and aeroplanes, he says, the battery-powered way is wrong.

Not least to keep the old sports cars on the roads, Porsche is researching alternative fuels. These e-fuels are produced with electricity and can then be used normally via the tank of an internal combustion engine. In this way, the iconic Porsche cars from decades past could continue to be on the roads even after the end of the internal combustion engine.

Bill Gates also considers the vehicles with the alternative technology to be viable for the future, and even sees them ahead of the already much-used battery-powered vehicles. The range of classic electric cars is a big problem. They have to become heavier and heavier to be able to cover long distances. If goods or many people are to be transported, the batteries have to grow to the point of impossibility in order to be able to supply the necessary energy. This problem does not exist with e-fuels. Gates therefore sees the alternative fuels as promising, especially for larger vehicles such as trucks, but also ships and aircraft.
However, e-fuels are still three to seven times more expensive to produce than fossil fuels. This is due to the fact that a lot of energy is lost in the conversion of the initial products, i.e. water and CO2, until the final product is created.

On the other hand, Gates sees the great advantage that the CO2 can be extracted directly from the atmosphere or from industrial processes. So when e-fuels are burned, no additional emissions are released, only the CO2 that was previously captured.

Whether battery or e-fuel, the decisive factor is always whether the storm that supplies the energy is sustainable. If it is produced from coal, for example, even the most efficient, greenest vehicle cannot really be good for the climate and the environment.

Only the future will show whether Bill Gates is right. It is possible that batteries and e-fuels will complement each other and claim different shares of the market. If the two technologies are in competition with each other, this would also promote their further development. In this way, the mobility revolution could have a real chance.