Green Synthetic Fuels

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Green Synthetic Fuels ( green-synthetic-fuels )

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energies Review Green Synthetic Fuels: Renewable Routes for the Conversion of Non-Fossil Feedstocks into Gaseous Fuels and Their End Uses Elena Rozzi 1,2,*, Francesco Demetrio Minuto 1,2 , Andrea Lanzini 1,2 and Pierluigi Leone 1,2 1 Department of Energy, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy; (F.D.M.); (A.L.); (P.L.) Energy Center Lab, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy 2 * Correspondence: Received: 6 December 2019; Accepted: 10 January 2020; Published: 15 January 2020 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Abstract: Innovative renewable routes are potentially able to sustain the transition to a decarbonized energy economy. Green synthetic fuels, including hydrogen and natural gas, are considered viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Indeed, they play a fundamental role in those sectors that are difficult to electrify (e.g., road mobility or high-heat industrial processes), are capable of mitigating problems related to flexibility and instantaneous balance of the electric grid, are suitable for large-size and long-term storage and can be transported through the gas network. This article is an overview of the overall supply chain, including production, transport, storage and end uses. Available fuel conversion technologies use renewable energy for the catalytic conversion of non-fossil feedstocks into hydrogen and syngas. We will show how relevant technologies involve thermochemical, electrochemical and photochemical processes. The syngas quality can be improved by catalytic CO and CO2 methanation reactions for the generation of synthetic natural gas. Finally, the produced gaseous fuels could follow several pathways for transport and lead to different final uses. Therefore, storage alternatives and gas interchangeability requirements for the safe injection of green fuels in the natural gas network and fuel cells are outlined. Nevertheless, the effects of gas quality on combustion emissions and safety are considered. Keywords: green synthetic fuels; power-to-gas; technology readiness level; supply chain; gas quality 1. Introduction 1.1. Background Global energy consumption has increased rapidly in recent decades due to population and economic growth. In 2018, the overall energy demand increased by 2.3%, nearly double the average rate of growth since 2010, and natural gas contributed almost 45% to the rise [1]. The growing energy consumption leads to the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the amplification of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Indeed, CO2 emissions in 2018 reached a historical value of 33.1 Gt CO2, increasing by 1.7% [1]. In 2010, governments approved the Paris Agreement, which established the goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature well below 2 ◦C above pre-industrial levels. The International Energy Agency (IEA) report outlines that, by 2050, a reduction by 85% of the annual GHG emissions is required to meet the Paris Agreement limit [2]. This goal can be achieved with the increase in low-carbon energy technologies, such as wind and solar power. However, the main issues related to energy generation by renewable energy sources are system flexibility and integration. Indeed, the electric grid needs to be balanced instantaneously at all times. Still, energy generation is Energies 2020, 13, 420; doi:10.3390/en13020420

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