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C 2017, 3(2), 11; doi:10.3390/c3020011

The Role of Synthetic Fuels for a Carbon Neutral Economy

Institute of Earth Sciences, and Department of Physics, University of Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal
Academic Editor: Enrico Andreoli
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials and Processes for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Utilisation)
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Abstract

Fossil fuels depletion and increasing environmental impacts arising from their use call for seeking growing supplies from renewable and nuclear primary energy sources. However, it is necessary to simultaneously attend to both the electrical power needs and the specificities of the transport and industrial sector requirements. A major question posed by the shift away from traditional fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources lies in matching the power demand with the daily and seasonal oscillation and the intermittency of these natural energy fluxes. Huge energy storage requirements become necessary or otherwise the decline of the power factor of both the renewable and conventional generation would mean loss of resources. On the other hand, liquid and gaseous fuels, for which there is vast storage and distribution capacity available, appear essential to supply the transport sector for a very long time ahead, besides their domestic and industrial roles. Within this context, the present assessment suggests that proven technologies and sound tested principles are available to develop an integrated energy system, relying on synthetic fuels. These would incorporate carbon capture and utilization in a closed carbon cycle, progressively relying mostly on solar and/or nuclear primary sources, providing both electric power and gaseous/liquid hydrocarbon fuels, having ample storage capacity, and able to timely satisfy all forms of energy demand. The principles and means are already available to develop a carbon-neutral synthetic fuel economy. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon dioxide utilisation; carbon dioxide capture; carbon-neutral fuels; energy storage; power-to-gas; power-to-liquids carbon dioxide utilisation; carbon dioxide capture; carbon-neutral fuels; energy storage; power-to-gas; power-to-liquids
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Rosa, R.N. The Role of Synthetic Fuels for a Carbon Neutral Economy. C 2017, 3, 11.

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