Amazon is partnering with Infinium to test the use of so-called electrofuels (electronic fuels) in its half-mile diesel fleet. Announced. The company invested in Infinium last year as part of its goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. “We have been developing this technology for the better part of a decade, and we expect our electrofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (GHG) by approximately 95 percent over traditional fossil fuel,” Infinium CEO Robert Schuetzle said in a statement.
As part of this, Infinium plans to build one of the first electric fuel production facilities in Texas, using renewablely generated hydrogen and about 18,000 tons of recycled carbon waste per year.
A quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are created by the transportation industry, Amazon notes. Infinium’s e-fuels supposedly help combat that by combining green hydrogen (from electrolysis) with captured CO2 that would otherwise be emitted by industrial plants. The CO2 and hydrogen are combined into syngas, which is then converted to liquid fuels through catalysts. The resulting “direct” fuel can be used directly in existing unmodified diesel vans.
Vans still emit carbon emissions, but industrial plants would have produced them anyway, so it’s supposedly a net-zero operation. Electric fuels are approximately twice as expensive as traditional fuels, infinium explained.
Clearly, there are a few issues that come to mind: The first is that the renewable energy used to create hydrogen would be much better used in battery electric vehicles. And neither Amazon nor Infinium explained where they got the 95 percent reduction figure from, so I’d take that with a grain of salt. Finally, despite the promise of net-zero emissions by 2040, Amazon’s emissions rose dramatically last year, and are likely to have been drastically underestimated.
Still, it could serve as an intermediate step. Infinium has previously noted that Amazon “will need liquid fuels for a long time” for land, sea and air travel. Amazon is also taking other steps, such as using green hydrogen (instead of gray hydrogen derived from fossil fuels or other fossil fuels) to power 30,000 forklifts and 800 heavy trucks. It is also investing in companies developing more efficient hydrogen electrolysers and has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian.
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