Stellantis, one of the automotive giants, has announced that 24 engine families in European vehicles sold since 2014, totaling a staggering 28 million vehicles, are now compatible with advanced drop-in eFuel.
This remarkable achievement comes after months of rigorous testing at Stellantis’ technical centers across Europe, where surrogate eFuels provided by Aramco, a global energy and chemicals heavyweight, were put to the test.
So, what is eFuel, and why is this development so significant? eFuel, short for low-carbon synthetic fuel, is a game-changing alternative that promises to revolutionize the automotive industry. It’s created by combining CO2, captured either from the atmosphere or industrial facilities, with renewable hydrogen. This chemical wizardry yields a fuel capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from internal combustion vehicles by a remarkable 70% or more when measured over the vehicle’s entire lifecycle. This is a potential game-changer in the quest for decarbonization.
Ned Curic, Stellantis Chief Engineering and Technology Officer emphasized the automaker’s commitment to providing zero-emission mobility for all while acknowledging the importance of this collaboration with Aramco. He stated, “We are exploring all solutions to reinforce our ambitious strategy of becoming a carbon net-zero company by 2038. Drop-in eFuels can have a massive and almost immediate impact on reducing the CO2 emissions of the existing vehicle fleet, offering our customers an easy and economically efficient option to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Amer Amer, Aramco Transport Chief Technologist, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the potential of synthetic fuels as a drop-in solution for existing vehicles. He said, “The results of the testing reinforce our view that synthetic fuel can be a drop-in solution in existing vehicles, and when produced via a low-carbon pathway, it can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector.”
This development aligns perfectly with Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 plan, which seeks to halve its carbon footprint by 2030, based on 2021 metrics, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2038. The implications are colossal: Stellantis anticipates that integrating low-carbon eFuels into up to 28 million European vehicles could curtail up to a staggering 400 million tons of CO2 emissions in Europe between 2025 and 2050.
The testing of surrogate eFuels involved comprehensive assessments, spanning tailpipe emissions, engine performance, reliability, and endurance, among others. It scrutinized the fuel’s performance under extreme conditions, from bone-chilling cold to scorching heat.
Aramco, on its part, is actively exploring the production of low-carbon synthetic fuels through two demonstration plants. In Saudi Arabia, Aramco and ENOWA are on a mission to produce synthetic gasoline for light-duty passenger vehicles. In Bilbao, Spain, Aramco has partnered with Repsol to delve into the production of low-carbon synthetic diesel and jet fuel for both automobiles and aircraft. Additionally, Aramco is collaborating with motorsport teams and competitions to showcase the potential of low-carbon fuel in reducing emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles.