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Power-to-fuel and the CO2 law

Clean mobility by CO2 cycle? It is already a reality today: Synthetic fuels made from CO2, which is extracted from the air. Most importantly: Fossil fuels are not necessary.

This is how Power-to-Fuel works: Filter the raw material, CO2, from the ambient air, then add hydrogen and energy, and the fuel is ready. The energy that is used in the process comes from renewable sources.In this cycle, therefore, no "new" CO2 enters the atmosphere. Petroleum and natural gas are not touched. Clean Fuel Now therefore calls for policy to set new benchmarks for vehicles powered by power-to-fuel. Obsolete CO2 sanctions based on fossil CO2 emissions can no longer be applied.

Clean Fuel Now therefore calls for policy to be changed and new benchmarks to be set for vehicles powered by power-to-fuel. It believes that obsolete CO2 sanctions based on fossil CO2 emissions can no longer be applied.

 

If policy was changed to consider synthetic C02 neutral fuels, then it would encourage importers of vehicle fleets to invest further in climate friendly innovation.

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Presentation Clean Fuel Now (german)

Why the CO2 law must be adapted

When the CO2 law was written, climate-neutral synthetic fuels produced with CO2 from ambient air were still practically unknown. Vehicles that are driven with such synthetic fuels produce virtually no fossil CO2. Nevertheless, they have to pay CO2 sanctions. In order to change this and promote investment in climate neutral synthetic fuel technology, National Councillor Thomas Böhni has asked the Federal Council to acknowledge synthetic fuels within CO2 regulations and sanction car importers depending also on their production of climate neutral synthetic fuels.

Since 1st July 2012, Switzerland has been applying CO2 emissions regulations for new passenger cars in Switzerland. The Swiss importers were obliged to reduce the emissions of the passenger cars registered for the first time in Switzerland to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015, otherwise a penalty will be due. The sanctions were phased in by 2015. The average CO2 emissions of the entire new car fleet were 135 g CO2 / km in 2015, which corresponds to a drop rate of about 10% since 2012. (Source: Federal Office of Energy of 01.12.2016 ). The sanctions are intended to "encourage" the importers to promote lower-consumption vehicles.

The problem: when the CO2 law and the CO2 emission regulations were written, synthetic fuels produced with green electricity and CO2 from the ambient air, were just a futuristic idea. This leads to the irrational situation in which companies like Audi that invest a lot of money in the development of practically carbon neutral fuels and fuel their vehicles with it, still have to pay CO2 sanctions on these vehicles, even though they do not produce fossil CO2.  The calculation does not include the actual CO2 emissions but a theoretical value, which depends on the vehicle type and its efficiency rating.

National Councillor Thomas Böhni wants to change that. In a first Motion, the Federal Council called for "the necessary legal, regulatory frameworks for operators, importers and manufacturers of vehicles which are fuelled with CO2-neutral, synthetic fuels produced in Switzerland to achieve reduced CO2 emissions in the Framework of the fleet emissions scheme. The Motion was signed by representatives of all parties (see here).

The submitted Motion has now been taken over by Martin Bäumle and accepted by the National Council directly with a majority. After being answered by the Federal Council, it is first dealt with by the National Council and then by the Council of States. Our goal is that it is adopted in both chambers by a majority. This would make Switzerland a forerunner in the promotion of climate-neutral mobility, create jobs, reduce dependency on foreign countries and also promote renewable energies.

The Motion

Environment Minister Doris Leuthard with the founders of Climeworks.

Consideration of CO₂ neutral synthetic fuels

Clean Fuel Now is working for Motion 14.3837: CO2 neutral Synthetic fuels. Credit for CO2 emissions.

 

Submitted text

The Federal Council is responsible for the production and distribution of CO2 emissions, as well as for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

 

Adopted by the National Council on 16.06.16 and by the Council of States on 8.03.17.