New fuels that would make petrol and diesel cars CO2 neutral could be commercially available by 2025, delegates at the APEA conference were told this week.

In an address to the conference, Stefan Kunter, managing director and CEO of the Elaflex group of companies, said that synthetic fuels could make a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions from transport without making changes to infrastructure or vehicles.

A video during his presentation explained that synthetic fuels are produced by combining hydrogen and CO2. Hydrogen can be extracted from water using renewable energy, but for a liquid fuel carbon is required, and this can be extracted from the air in the form of CO2 using filters.

Using the fuel, it said, trucks and cars with a combustion engine can be CO2 neutral. It added: “The manufacturing process is currently still painstaking and expensive … but experts believe as soon as 2025 synthetic fuels could make gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles CO2 neutral.”

Kunter told delegates; “You don’t have to change your car to run on synthetic fuel and you can use existing infrastructure so you can put synthetic fuel in a tank that has held diesel before. The infrastructure is there and the roll-out is easy.

“You can make all kinds of fuel grades out of it, the emissions are extremely good, and the fuel consumption is extremely good because you can optimise it.”

He said the only thing lacking for its potential roll-out was political will. In his country, Germany, he said politicians were single minded in moving over to electric vehicles (EVs), and for them “fuel is a dirty word”.

He accepted that EVs would have a role to play in cutting transport emissions, particularly in shorter urban journeys, but claimed there was neither the public acceptance nor the infrastructure to support a full transfer to EVs as currently planned.