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Synthetic fuels

The new engine of the hydrogen sector?

In the field of hydrogen, 2023 was marked by the announcement of numerous synthetic fuel production projects in Europe (including France) and other regions outside Europe characterized by significant renewable potential.

This dynamic is particularly explained by European regulations setting ambitious targets for the integration of these fuels into the consumption mix of the aviation and maritime sectors (indirectly for the latter via a CO2 target), as these sectors have few other decarbonization solutions.

Compared to the early years of the decade, which were heavily focused on the development of industrial and mobility projects directly using hydrogen, in 2023, the e-fuels sector represents a majority share of the newly announced developments related to H2, and therefore a significant portion of the medium-term H2 consumption/production potential.

However, the development of this e-fuels sector is accompanied by a number of additional challenges and uncertainties compared to projects involving the direct use of H2 in industry or mobility (sourcing of CO2, additional technological challenges, competitiveness vs. imports, etc.).

Among the topics we will be particularly attentive to in 2024:

  1. The reality of the development of the many announced e-fuels projects in Europe: what is the success rate and failure rate?

  2. The evolution of the "competition" between imports (intra-European and outside Europe) and local production, which relates to the competitiveness of access to inputs, certifications, sovereignty, and the development of import infrastructure projects in major port areas.

  3. The evolution of another "competition" between biofuels (biomass-based) and e-fuels (H2-based) in the development of sustainable fuel projects, in a context of anticipated tension over biomass resources but also rising costs in the e-fuels sector.

  4. The strategies of future major consumers, airlines, and large shipowners, to meet the multiple decarbonization requirements, including the strategic choices of molecules in the maritime sector (methane, methanol, ammonia, or even diesel? Bio vs. e-fuels).

  5. Regulatory developments that may arise through the implementation of European objectives and guidelines at the national level.

  6. The development of capture and new business models around biogenic CO2.

Alexandre Hoffer
Philippe Abiven

E-CUBE has developed strong expertise in the field of "synthetic fuels" through its recent projects and the experience of its consultants. We would be happy to discuss market perspectives and opportunities with you. You can contact Alexandre Hoffer ( or Philippe Abiven ( to schedule a discussion on the subject.

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