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French e-fuels Observatory

Changes in European regulations are encouraging the rapid development of alternative fuels. Among the various options available: e-fuels.

Changes in European regulations are encouraging the rapid development of alternative fuels. E-fuels form part of the various options in a toolkit to achieve carbon neutrality and offer solutions to the sectors that are the hardest to decarbonize, particularly industry, air and maritime transport. 

e-fuels within the scope of the French e-fuels Observatory

E-fuels can substitute the current processes using fossil fuels, without modifying current infrastructures and equipment.  

Genesis of the French E-fuels Office and the French e-fuels Observatory.

France is looking to become a pioneer in the development of synthetic fuels and molecules. In this context, the French E-fuels Office, launched in July 2023, is designed to convene experts, professors, researchers, academics, industry players, technicians, and financiers, to promote a virtuous, competitive, and sustainable French e-fuels industry. The Office advises public and private players in the sector, to encourage the development of projects. It promotes synergies and exchanges and informs different audiences on e-fuels. 

Charlotte de Lorgeril, Partner Energy, Utilities & Environment at Sia Partners, and Cédric de Saint-Jouan, CEO and Founder of Vol-V and Chairman of the Strategic Committee of Elyse Energy, have been appointed spokespersons for the French E-fuels Office. 

The Office is behind the French e-fuels Observatory, which aims to assess the development potential of a French e-fuels industry based on initiatives already underway, and to estimate the requirements needed to deploy this new value chain. 

Its first publication, Decarbonizing industry, and heavy mobility with solutions available now, produced by Sia Partners, assesses the development potential of a French e-fuels industry based on initiatives already underway, and estimates the prerequisites to deploy this new value chain. The aim of the Office is to initiate a collective process of reflection, bringing together experts, professors, academics, industry players, technicians, and financiers, around the role of e-fuels in the energy transition and the development of a French industry. 

According to Charlotte de Lorgeril, "Our aim is to report on the dynamics of a virtuous French industry, promoting industrial synergies in the regions and with a strong potential for decarbonizing emitting sectors. To better inform the actors positioned along the entire value chain, public authorities, and citizens alike, and to support them in their projects, we feel it is essential to decipher the growth prospects and challenges inherent in this boom.  

This first publication from the Observatory is intended to be both educational and contextual. It is intended to be enriched and updated on a regular basis, to keep pace with developments in the sector.” 

The French E-fuels Office gathers more than 20 highly qualified members, including: Frédéric Balligand (Vice-President Renewables Product Line, Axens),  Bernard Hoffait (Institutional Relations Director, TotalEnergies), Jean-Philippe Buisson (Project director CCU, EDF), Florence Delprat-Jannaud (Centre de Résultats Produits Energétiques Director, IFP Energies Nouvelles), Paul-Joël Derian (Group VP Innovation and Sustainable Development, Groupe Avril, Member of the Académie des technologies), Cyril Dufau-Sansot (CEO, Hy2Gen), Pierre-Etienne Franc (CEO, Hy24), Christian Gauthier (Transformation & Sustainability EVP, Air France), Patrice Geoffron (Professor of Economics at Paris-Dauphine University, independent director at Elengy and member of Engie’s Scientific Advisory Board), Geoffroy Cagnet (Head of e-fuel projects, Bouygues Energies & Services), Gaylord Goulet (Director of Engineering, NEO2), Daniel Iracane (Member of the Académie des technologies), Oumar Khan (H2/e-NG Senior Process Engineer, TotalEnergies), Hind Lammari (Director of the Hydrogen Business Unit, Teréga Solutions), Raphaël Lance (Head of Energy Transition fund, Mirova), Emeric Marin (Chief executive K9, évole énergies), Amine Masnaoui (Business Development Manager, Yamna), Arthur Parenty (Public Affairs Manager, Hynamics), Romain Provost (Global Advisor Energy Transition, Evolen), Nicolas Serrie (CEO, Khimo). 

What are the main conclusions of the Observatory on the e-fuels sector in France?

Ambitious projects could make France a leader in e-fuels by 2030. 

  • Some 20 e-methane, e-methanol and e-kerosene projects are currently being developed or deployed in 18 French regions. 
  • Combined production of at least 528 thousand tons of oil equivalent is expected in the long term. 
  • The technological building blocks are individually mature but combining them within an integrated value chain poses several challenges. 

The resource needs of the e-fuels sector must be anticipated. 

  • A major issue is the demand for low-carbon electricity (renewable or nuclear), with an annual requirement more than 14 TWh for projects announced to date. 
  • Current carbon pools are sufficient to meet their CO2 demand, estimated at 1.7 Mt per year. 
  • Water and land are two other important dimensions, with annual requirements of 4620 ML and 180 hectares respectively. 

The new value chains will bring many benefits to local communities and accelerate France's energy transition. 

  • E-fuels would offset the CO2 emitted during combustion with the CO2 captured during synthesis, resulting in a reduction in carbon emissions ranging from 64% to 93%, depending on the electricity mix used. 
  • Local, sustainable production would replace fossil and imported molecules, contributing to national energy sovereignty, and improving France's trade balance by €506 million.   
  • The necessary investments, estimated at €3.6 billion, could boost local economies, creating nearly 3,000 jobs and industrial synergies in the regions.

Download the study "Decarbonizing industry and heavy mobility with solutions available now", from the French e-fuels Observatory. [To date, in French only]

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