Renewable and low-carbon fuels will become one of the most important paths to decarbonise EU transport

Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union, held on 15 March 2021 an online event debating the need for the EU to launch a Low-Carbon Liquid Fuels Strategy. There was general consensus among speakers that a long-term strategy for low-carbon liquid fuels is required at EU level to ensure the adoption of a coherent and comprehensive policy response to the challenge of decarbonising aviation, maritime and road transport and achieving EU’s climate neutrality ambitions.

Commissioner Vălean in charge of Transport underlined the role of renewable & low-carbon liquid fuels in achieving climate neutrality in aviation and maritime sector, and in transport in general. Commissioner Vălean added that to enable the scaling up of these fuels the Commission was setting up its Alliance for Renewable & Low Carbon Liquid Fuels Value Chain.

John Cooper, FuelsEurope Director General, welcomed the Commission’s initiative and ensured the industry’s active cooperation. He furthermore stated “There is no silver bullet, no single technology, which will address the challenge of decarbonising the entire transport sector. While the deployment of electrification in light-duty road transport is progressing, renewable and low-carbon fuels represent a strategic and complementary solution.” John Cooper underlined that the business case for investments in renewable fuels is more robust when the market is the combination of road, aviation, and maritime transport, and therefore the proposed Alliance should include in its scope all three transport sectors. John Cooper also highlighted the use of low-carbon liquid fuels as transitional technology for cars and as a long-term enduring solution for some trucks. Therefore there is a strategic reason to address needs in road transport with some low-carbon liquid fuels as well.

Member of the European Parliament Jan-Christoph Oetjen commented “Alternative fuels are one of the most promising technologies for decarbonising various modes of transport. The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. To achieve this goal, the objective must be to build-up a dense, widespread, reliable and easy-to-use alternative fuels infrastructure network targeting all transport modes. Urgent steps are needed to update regulatory frameworks that ramp-up production, deployment and use of sustainable alternative fuels, taking different preconditions of various transport modes into account. The industry needs legal clarity and a strong signal to accelerate production of biofuels and e-fuels. These are specifically needed for those transport modes that are more difficult to decarbonise.

A growing number of policymakers, industrial sectors, and stakeholders are calling for a coherent policy strategy for low carbon liquid fuels where the various proposals to be published for each of the individual transport sectors will together enable the deployment of smart and sustainable mobility strategy.