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Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry #5435682 05/22/20 08:30 AM
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wemay Offline OP
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https://www.carscoops.com/2020/05/mercedes-says-synthetic-fuel-isnt-viable-for-auto-industry/


Quote
Mercedes-Benz research and development boss Markus Schäfer says synthetic fuels are not viable for the automotive industry in the immediate future.

During a recent interview with Autocar, Schäfer said the German car manufacturer is committed to electrifying its cars and does not believe synthetic fuels to replace petrol and diesel are the way to go.

“We have made a clear decision that our way will be electric first,” Schäfer said. “When we develop new platforms, we think electric first. We have to watch regulations and customer behavior, but this will be our main road.”

“If you have an abundance of energy, the best use is to put it directly into a battery. To transform green energy into an e-fuel is a process where you lose a lot of efficiency. If there were more clean energies available, then the first customers would probably be in the aviation industry. Far, far later – I don’t see this in the next 10 years – will come the car industry,” Schäfer added.

While Mercedes-Benz is skeptical about the future of synthetic fuels, other major car manufacturers actually consider it as a viable alternative to the fuels currently powering ICE vehicles. In April, Volkswagen technical chief Matthias Rabe said synthetic fuels made from biomass and other materials will allow car manufacturers like it to build ICE engines well into the future.

Similarly, Mazda is conducting research into recyclable liquid fuels made from microalgae. Over in the supercar realm, McLaren chief operating officer Jens Ludman claims the company is looking to build a development car that runs on synthetic fuel.


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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5435699 05/22/20 09:12 AM
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And yet we use Ethanol in large quantities. It may not qualify as a synthetic, but it certainly qualifies as way to transform "green energy" (sunlight) into liquid fuel. A liquid that pours into the tank in a minute or two, and delivers adequate overall performance, without the limitations of batteries.

Before we argue over ethanol's EROI, remember that methods exist to achieve an EROI of 6+ with ethanol. Brazil does it.

I really hope to see 800wh/kg specific energy in next decade's batteries, 3X+ better than today's best. Tomorrow, even Musk's best 200KWH battery Tesla pickup truck can't tow a conventional RV trailer for more than 100 miles. The truck also takes an hour or more to charge, and may not be chargeable at remote destinations.

Mercedes and VW may believe that filling a battery with sunshine is the best choice. I don't agree. It takes real power to do real work. There is a distinct reason why electric airplanes don't exist, despite 2 decades of attempts.

Last edited by Cujet; 05/22/20 09:13 AM.

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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: Cujet] #5435732 05/22/20 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Cujet
And yet we use Ethanol in large quantities. It may not qualify as a synthetic, but it certainly qualifies as way to transform "green energy" (sunlight) into liquid fuel. A liquid that pours into the tank in a minute or two, and delivers adequate overall performance, without the limitations of batteries.

Before we argue over ethanol's EROI, remember that methods exist to achieve an EROI of 6+ with ethanol. Brazil does it.

I really hope to see 800wh/kg specific energy in next decade's batteries, 3X+ better than today's best. Tomorrow, even Musk's best 200KWH battery Tesla pickup truck can't tow a conventional RV trailer for more than 100 miles. The truck also takes an hour or more to charge, and may not be chargeable at remote destinations.

Mercedes and VW may believe that filling a battery with sunshine is the best choice. I don't agree. It takes real power to do real work. There is a distinct reason why electric airplanes don't exist, despite 2 decades of attempts.


First, why do you have to make so much sense?

Second, Mercedes and VW need some nice PR since the diesel scandals and the current European push for clean cities and not ICE/diesel in the big metros areas.
I wonder also if this is to push some european govenrments to give them some more money for research/prototypes. Or have a captive market of local goverments/utilities specialized vehicles fleets.

Third, maybe a PR response to the many electric vehicles companies state-sponsored in China?


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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5435796 05/22/20 11:14 AM
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So Mercedes is saying Shell's Sundiesel is not viable for their diesels in Europe?

It's a Biomass to Liquid using the Fischer-Tropsch method, and it's been available in Europe for over a decade now


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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: Cujet] #5435809 05/22/20 11:34 AM
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y_p_w Offline
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Originally Posted by Cujet
And yet we use Ethanol in large quantities. It may not qualify as a synthetic, but it certainly qualifies as way to transform "green energy" (sunlight) into liquid fuel. A liquid that pours into the tank in a minute or two, and delivers adequate overall performance, without the limitations of batteries.

Common corn ethanol is more or less made using a synthetic process these days. It has been for decades. It's not like they're making bourbon. They use synthetic shortcuts (especially enzymes) to turn it into sugar quickly for fermentation.

But these are really just buzzwords. A lot of fuels these days are synthesized, including the use for reformers and hydrotreating. It's not simply refining and fractional distillation any more.

As for the other things, a relative of mine used to work at a company (Amyris) that's breakthrough technology was supposed to be yeast that could convert biomass to diesel or at least something that could be substituted for diesel or at least blended with diesel. They were able to make usable fuel, but I think the issue was whether or not the process could be scaled to the point where it was cost effective. There's almost no mention of this any more. I think the company is much smaller than it used to be, and their technology is pretty much just going into cosmetic and food additives. They seemed to have problems scaling it up where the yeast would stop producing the fuel in their production facility. But it worked in their research lab on a smaller scale.

https://www.fastcompany.com/3000040/rise-and-fall-company-was-going-have-us-all-using-biofuels

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5435853 05/22/20 12:25 PM
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Depends on how oil and NG price go. If they pull another $120/barrel like 2008 you bet people will develop everything to make sure that doesn't ever happen again. Saudi was right that they too do not want to see $100/barrel, and will be happy to keep everyone at $60-80 forever.


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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: Cujet] #5436217 05/22/20 08:40 PM
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F-T has been around for a long time. For stranded gas, maybe it’s useful, but that’s not millions of barrels of liquid product.

Brown coal is plentiful but chock full of sulfur. Not good for fuel.

Biomass? Folks have looked at ocean algae for a long time. Interesting except that it’s the ocean, with the downsides associated.

There’s no free lunch.

Originally Posted by Cujet
And yet we use Ethanol in large quantities. It may not qualify as a synthetic, but it certainly qualifies as way to transform "green energy" (sunlight) into liquid fuel. A liquid that pours into the tank in a minute or two, and delivers adequate overall performance, without the limitations of batteries.

Before we argue over ethanol's EROI, remember that methods exist to achieve an EROI of 6+ with ethanol. Brazil does it.

I really hope to see 800wh/kg specific energy in next decade's batteries, 3X+ better than today's best. Tomorrow, even Musk's best 200KWH battery Tesla pickup truck can't tow a conventional RV trailer for more than 100 miles. The truck also takes an hour or more to charge, and may not be chargeable at remote destinations.

Mercedes and VW may believe that filling a battery with sunshine is the best choice. I don't agree. It takes real power to do real work. There is a distinct reason why electric airplanes don't exist, despite 2 decades of attempts.


The fallacy with these super density batteries is that you still need to get the heat out. The mystical high density battery running at high power (rates) to meet the towing concept will have other drawbacks that will still drive a larger size pack. Can’t stop physics.

Airplanes are somewhat of a different story. Weight is key, and no matter how dense the batteries, it’s still a fraction of the energy density of liquid fuels. Electric cars have been designed so far to allow the duty cycles and discharge rates, and work with a suitable lifetime. But they are heavy; saving grace is that the torque makes them feel “fast”, and legalities prevent them from requiring too much power for too long. To get the capability with margin in a car is reasonable. In a plane is a mass penalty that isn’t feasible. Especially when safety critical and redundant systems come into play.

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5436243 05/22/20 09:04 PM
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I think Germany figured this out in the early 1940s.

Ethanol is the closest thing to alternative fuel we have but making it with corn makes it to tied to other outside issues that Keep it from being cost effective currently. Brazil can make it work with sugar cane but that isn’t going to work in every climate. All the other alternative fuels are to energy intensive or have drawbacks keeping them from working.


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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: jhellwig] #5436685 05/23/20 11:32 AM
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y_p_w Offline
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Originally Posted by jhellwig
I think Germany figured this out in the early 1940s.

Ethanol is the closest thing to alternative fuel we have but making it with corn makes it to tied to other outside issues that Keep it from being cost effective currently. Brazil can make it work with sugar cane but that isn’t going to work in every climate. All the other alternative fuels are to energy intensive or have drawbacks keeping them from working.

I remember back watching the movie Planes, the talk in the movie was about "good old fashioned corn fuel" being the standard fuel used by most motor vehicles. It did somewhat explain why there were cornfields in the same world (in the Cars movies) although they did have the Dinoco fuel brand and some discussion that gasoline was derived from "dead dinosaurs". They did have a hippie character (a VW Type 2) who sold various alternative fuels.

However, there have been quite a few alternative liquid fuels. Obviously there's bio-diesel, which is preferentially made from cooking waste oil but can be made from virgin oils.

When you mention sugarcane, I think it's important to realize how efficiently it grows near the equator. Sugarcane grows in Louisiana and Florida, but certainly not as well as it does in Brazil.

It does look like bioengineered microbes to convert biomass (or sugar) directly to fuel would be the Holy Grail. I mentioned the company that did it, even though they abandoned their effort because it didn't scale to production levels. From what I understand, there were alumni of Amyris that went on to other companies trying to do the same thing as well as university research.

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5436762 05/23/20 01:33 PM
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They can synthesize any compound they want to, the stored energy potential equal to petroleum (1:1) simply isn't there and it cannot be made into an additive.

Same with a battery as previously mentioned- to get a battery with the full potential of a current truck with a full tank of gas ( payload, total potential and refill time) would take a battery the size of a tank- not mechanically or cost feasible.

Cant get around the 3 laws and conservation of energy.

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: ABN_CBT_ENGR] #5437064 05/23/20 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ABN_CBT_ENGR
They can synthesize any compound they want to, the stored energy potential equal to petroleum (1:1) simply isn't there and it cannot be made into an additive.

Same with a battery as previously mentioned- to get a battery with the full potential of a current truck with a full tank of gas ( payload, total potential and refill time) would take a battery the size of a tank- not mechanically or cost feasible.

Cant get around the 3 laws and conservation of energy.

Depends. Certainly gasoline is pretty high energy density, although diesel is higher. Liquid hydrogen has (by far) the highest energy to weight ration, and hydrogen fuel cells are extremely efficient. I've seen our local bus operator's old liquid hydrogen fueling station. It's gone now, although I think they just go to a private operator to refuel.

Electricity is far more efficient than a piston engine running gasoline, even with a battery, but then there's the lugging around of a battery. And of course we could increase the range of a gasoline powered car with a larger tank, although eventually it decreases passenger or storage space or has to be factored into the design. But with electricity it would be great if we could simply avoid having to deal with a large battery. We get that with public transportation including buses running on overhead lines or trains running on overhead lines and/or third rails. If we could just find some way to overcome battery issues, electric would be almost ideal. Even with modern rail, there are very few ICE-only operations. It's really just a big diesel generator on wheels designed to power the electricity. It needs no transmission and has maximum torque coming off the line.

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: y_p_w] #5437228 05/24/20 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by y_p_w


Depends.

Electricity is far more efficient than a piston engine running gasoline

If we could just find some way to overcome battery issues



Theres no "depends" to it- unless and until someone invalidates the first 3 laws and conservation of mass and energy its "impossible" to equal a 1:1 relationship for energy in all applicable terms to petroleum products ( except for nuclear obviously but that's not really applicable to cars unless we really do make the "Mr. Fusion" one day) by all this "green stuff"

If it "could" work every country on earth would have been pursuing it from day one because this would make them the ultimate superpower.

Its been tried.

Yes electricity is the standard of HP ( an ICE is about .5 ish in comparison) and yes an electric car works- they have "worked" for over a century.

all of that is a smokescreen because the BATTERY ( and only the battery) cannot be made to equal the energy density of petroleum in a 1:1 swap

"technology" is a "process- there is no element or alloy that can accomplish this so unless somebody discovers unobtainium this "battery" can never be built.

good luck in the efforts, then start on FTL drives

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: wemay] #5437374 05/24/20 10:38 AM
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Cost is another factor. Quite simply, batteries remain expensive. This leads to the production of "affordable" electric cars (The Leaf for example) that have small batteries, short range and limited capability. Despite the promises, the electric cars with real range remain rather unaffordable when compared to oh, a 600 mile range Nissan Altima. $31K gets you 100 miles EV range in a micro-compact car. It also gets you 500-600 miles range in a near full sized or full sized car (the Accord)

Also of note, SUV aerodynamics are not helpful with regard to battery range. There is a reason Tesla's $100,000 SUV looks like a jellybean and sacrifices cargo space behind the seats.

Tell me again why batteries are better...

Last edited by Cujet; 05/24/20 10:42 AM.

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Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: ABN_CBT_ENGR] #5437423 05/24/20 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ABN_CBT_ENGR
Yes electricity is the standard of HP ( an ICE is about .5 ish in comparison) and yes an electric car works- they have "worked" for over a century.

all of that is a smokescreen because the BATTERY ( and only the battery) cannot be made to equal the energy density of petroleum in a 1:1 swap

"technology" is a "process- there is no element or alloy that can accomplish this so unless somebody discovers unobtainium this "battery" can never be built.

good luck in the efforts, then start on FTL drives

Range can still be overcome with a large enough battery. But in many ways it's red herring because most people don't need a 500 mile range, especially if they can recharge a battery at home or quickly on the road. The big problem is always going to be infrastructure.

Besides that, isn't the efficiency of an ICE really about 40% tops?

Re: Mercedes Says Synthetic Fuel Isn’t Viable For The Auto Industry [Re: y_p_w] #5437431 05/24/20 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by y_p_w

Range can still be overcome with a large enough battery. But in many ways it's red herring because most people don't need a 500 mile range, especially if they can recharge a battery at home or quickly on the road. The big problem is always going to be infrastructure.

Besides that, isn't the efficiency of an ICE really about 40% tops?


Sorry but I have to inject more legitimate science into the propaganda just to keep it real

Range is but one part of the equation, make sure payload is included and in comparison to current vehicles in terms of capacity and performance to keep the scales equal.

That’s where the truth is because range can be overcome but the beetle will need to pull a battery the size of a utility trailer to do it.(and triggering the law of diminishing returns because that will be added payload to carry) (and there won’t be a fast charge for that ampacity)

Where is the study showing what people need? That’s a non-argument proffered by people to sell a point they know is inadequate and unsatisfactory by minimizing the differences in hopes of getting people to settle for it.

Let’s get the battery first because the true needs will be what actually defines what, how much and how fast the ‘infrastructure” has to do. That’s a textbook slick sales technique to lowball then add change orders because you knew from the outset the idea wouldn’t sell if the true cost was known
.
The efficiency of an ICE is the true red herring here and actually works against the selling of the battery concept because as ICE’s get more efficient, the need for alternative energy decreases. In any case the efficiency of the ICE has no bearing on the battery requirements of the electric car.

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