Vision 2050: EU Refining launches its low-carbon liquid fuels path to meet CO2 targets for transport

FuelsEurope has announced alongside the Informal Energy Council, the refining industry’s Vision 2050, its proposed long-term trajectory for low-carbon liquid fuels for Europe. Transitioning gradually to new feedstocks such as renewables, waste and captured CO2, and with the right policy framework in place, this vision offers a cost-effective option for cutting CO2 emissions in transport using the existing and widespread infrastructure already in place, enabling to reducing emissions of all vehicles in circulation and including all transport sectors, HDV, marine and aviation.

John Cooper, Director General FuelsEurope, set out the refining industry’s long-term vision for supplying lower carbon liquid fuels for Europe. He underlined that “We will need liquids for the long term. Thanks to their superior energy density hydrocarbon liquid fuels remain unrivalled for use in transport; they are simply the best form of portable energy storage and delivery. That’s why moving away from liquid fuels is so challenging. Despite encouraging developments for passenger cars electrification, fewer sustainable technologies can currently be found for heavy duty, marine and aviation, these sectors may not be able to continue in current form without liquid fuels.”

The Refining Industry’s vision consists of liquid fuels and products progressively lower in carbon intensity, increasingly using new feedstocks such as renewables, waste and captured CO2, as part of a very efficient manufacturing cluster to supply Europe’s citizens and businesses.

This vision is based on many different technologies to produce low-carbon liquids such as sustainable biofuels, CCS/CCU, renewable hydrogen and power-to-liquids, each having potential to reduce GHG intensity across the life-cycle in all the transport segments. John Cooper stated “to meet the EU and global climate change mitigation objectives while continuing to provide affordable mobility, vital to citizens and industry, there will be a need for both “low-carbon” electrons and “low-carbon” molecules. While electrons offer a viable alternative for passenger cars and vans in cities, molecules for liquid fuels will still be needed, especially for long haul heavy-duty road transport, aviation, and marine, as well as for petrochemical feedstocks, lubricants and other products.”

John Cooper underlined “Our Vision is ambitious but achievable, based on both established and emerging technologies, built on the principles of the circular economy and resource efficiency. This Vision is an industrial opportunity for Europe to develop low-carbon technologies and contribute to restoring its global leadership.” With the right investments, the refinery of the future is perfectly placed to be this low-carbon manufacturing hub integrated within a cluster of industries and able to expand this industrial collaboration to future low-carbon technologies.

John Cooper concluded “to make this vision a reality we need it first to be integrated in an EU industrial and technology strategy. We need a policy framework that provides investors with stability and predictability, over a 15-20 year timeframe. We also need to safeguard the international competitiveness of EU industries and avoid off-shoring of manufacturing activities through the development and deployment of these low-carbon technologies. We are keen to discuss these points with Policymakers to enable our vision for our industry for 2050”.