Switzerland is a hub of innovation. Universities in the country foster innovation and new technologies, encouraging startups with funding and expertise. The clean energy industry is one of those that is receiving particular attention in Switzerland, but the race is on to be the leading country or region. With innovations from companies such as Climeworks, who are able to efficiently capture CO2 from the ambient atmosphere, which can be used to produce e-synthetic fuel, Switzerland have a claim for the leading position. After the Paris Agreement, a worldwide focus on climate change solutions, as well as uncertainty from the United States on climate change policy under the current government, other regions, such as the EU are beginning to ramp up their efforts to lead the way.
With Motion Böhni being accepted by both chambers of the Swiss government, Switzerland recognised that e-synthetic fuels, created without the need for fossil fuels, are vital for the future of clean mobility. This acknowledgement paves the way for an e-synthetic fuel plant to be built in Switzerland, which would create new industry in the country, solidify the countries role in clean the fuel technology industry, and put them in the a leading position in the fight against climate change. Switzerland are directly effected by global warming, with the Swiss glaciers at great risk.
The fuel that would be made in the plant, BlueCrude, has been developed by Sunfire, a German firm, that use use the CO2, harvested by Climeworks, renewable energy and water to create it. The fuel, which creates a closed carbon cycle, in which only carbon taking from the atmosphere is released back into the atmosphere during combustion, is gaining notoriety outside of Switzerland. Sunfire are applying to have BlueCrude to be given a Lifecycle Green House Gas (GHG) value by the European Commission, under the Fuel Quality Directive, Article 7a. Article 7a, of the Fuel Quality Directive obliges suppliers to reduce by 6% the life cycle greenhouse gas intensity of fuel and other energy sources supplied for use in road vehicles by 2020. All fuels are required to receive a GHG value.
CNN report on Blue Crude
When BlueCrude is given its value, it will join the European Commissions list of other sustainable fuels and therefore accepted by the EU as a CO2 neutral fuel. Whilst this is a breakthrough for clean mobility in the EU, it could threaten Switzerland’s leading clean mobility innovation role. With the acceptance of BlueCrude in Europe as a climate friendly fuel, greater investment in Sunfire’s technology is extremely likely, giving the European Union the upper hand in the clean energy industry.
Switzerland have taken the policy lead by passing Motion Böhni, but if its implementation is lengthy, and investment in technology like Sunfire’s BlueCrude and Climeworks’ carbon capture system is not encouraged, the EU may gain the advantage in the industry.