Review of electrofuel feasibility—cost and environmental impact

Maria Grahn*, Elin Malmgren, Andrei David Korberg, Maria Taljegård, James E Anderson, Selma Brynolf, Julia Hansson, Iva Ridjan Skov, Timothy J Wallington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Electrofuels, fuels produced from electricity, water, and carbon or nitrogen, are of interest as substitutes for fossil fuels in all energy and chemical sectors. This paper focuses on electrofuels for transportation, where some can be used in existing vehicle/vessel/aircraft fleets and fueling infrastructure. The aim of this study is to review publications on electrofuels and summarize costs and environmental performance. A special case, denoted as bio-electrofuels, involves hydrogen supplementing existing biomethane production (e.g. anaerobic digestion) to generate additional or different fuels. We use costs, identified in the literature, to calculate harmonized production costs for a range of electrofuels and bio-electrofuels. Results from the harmonized calculations show that bio-electrofuels generally have lower costs than electrofuels produced using captured carbon. Lowest costs are found for liquefied bio-electro-methane, bio-electro-methanol, and bio-electro-dimethyl ether. The highest cost is for electro-jet fuel. All analyzed fuels have the potential for long-term production costs in the range 90–160 € MWh−1. Dominant factors impacting production costs are electrolyzer and electricity costs, the latter connected to capacity factors (CFs) and cost for hydrogen storage. Electrofuel production costs also depend on regional conditions for renewable electricity generation, which are analyzed in sensitivity analyses using corresponding CFs in four European regions. Results show a production cost range for electro-methanol of 76–118 € MWh−1 depending on scenario and region assuming an electrolyzer CAPEX of 300–450 € kWelec−1 and CFs of 45%–65%. Lowest production costs are found in regions with good conditions for renewable electricity, such as Ireland and western Spain. The choice of system boundary has a large impact on the environmental assessments. The literature is not consistent regarding the environmental impact from different CO2 sources. The literature, however, points to the fact that renewable energy sources are required to achieve low global warming impact over the electrofuel life cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032010
JournalProgress in Energy
Issue number3
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


  • Climate impact
  • LCA
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • carbon capture and utilization
  • e-fuels
  • power-to-fuels
  • techno-economic analysis
  • climate impact
  • CO -fuels


Dive into the research topics of 'Review of electrofuel feasibility—cost and environmental impact'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this