Expert on eco-fuel: “It won’t work without e-fuels”
Elmar Kühn and his association Uniti keep the lobby register of the German Bundestag under the register number R002 822. His office is conveniently located on Jägerstrasse in Berlin. It’s a nine-minute walk to the Finance Ministry for Porsche driver Christian Lindner and just 16 minutes to the Reichstag.
Kühn has support from the highest circles
Over the past few weeks, Kühn has gained some powerful allies. Both Oliver Blume (54), the new VW boss, and Finance Minister Lindner (43) are committed to e-gasoline and e-diesel. That’s bold. Because he represents 1000 medium-sized mineral oil dealers who operate around 6000 independent gas stations. And if no one refuels there because everyone is only charging electricity, they have a problem.
So Kühn is pushing ahead: “From 2023 we will initially be offering e-diesel at around 50 filling stations nationwide.” As a ten percent admixture to normal diesel. Anything else would be too expensive.
In his opinion, why do we need eco-fuel? “Even in Europe, the proportion of combustion engines is still 99.5 percent.” These could be made climate-neutral with e-fuels. “Technically it’s feasible, just not wanted politically.” And electricity is also not a viable alternative for garbage disposal or logistics trucks – and hydrogen is too expensive. “The garbage then costs five times as much,” claims Kühn.
Are e-fuels energy-efficient at all?
The argument of the e-fuels critics: the production of synthetic fuel is far too energy-intensive. The amount of electricity used to produce e-fuels for a range of 100 km would allow a battery electric car to travel 700 km. According to car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, the efficiency of e-fuels is around 15 percent, that of e-cars around 80 percent.
Goal: make combustion engines climate-neutral
Kühn says: “We made it onto the political stage today. Right up to Brussels, right up to the coalition agreement – that shows that e-fuels are the right way. Finance Minister Lindner recognized that we build the best engines in the world – and that we shouldn’t just give up this unique selling proposition. If I can make the internal combustion engine climate-neutral without giving up my cutting-edge technology, then that’s an advantage that we should use.”
The opponents of e-fuels are only concerned with their own agenda, says Kühn, not with the sense of this solution. “E-fuels are being fought so stubbornly because some simply want to reduce car traffic and others, such as vehicle manufacturers, would suddenly no longer be able to sell their e-cars – because then there would be an alternative.”
Only electric will become too expensive in the long run
He is not against e-mobility. “But we don’t have enough electricity. And a shortage will lead to even higher prices. And as a result, many people will no longer be able to afford to drive.” From his point of view, a combustion engine powered by e-fuels is another “small technical revolution”.