EWO-Symposium: Renewable liquid fuels – research and development worldwide

How can renewable liquid fuels contribute to the energy transition? And what is their current research and development status? These questions were addressed at the EWO-Symposium in Vienna, Austria on 26 January 2023.

The event hosted approx. 170 energy experts and guests. Five informative speeches held by energy experts were followed by an panel discussion on the discrepancy between the political expectations for decarbonizing the energy sector by 2050 and the feasibility for oil heated households.


Tarek Leitner (Moderator), Thierry Javit (Bolloré Energy), Jürgen Roth (EWO, CEO), Ernst-Moritz Bellingen (en2x, Eurofuel), Martin Prunbauer (ÖHGB), Sandrine Devos (Eurofuel), Anton Berger (plumber association), Johannes Mayer (E-Control), Martin Reichard (EWO, General Manager), Marco Lietz (Neste) (Foto Credits: EWO/APA/Krisztian Juhasz)



"We‘re engaged in creating sustainable, site-friendly solutions that are at the same time affordable for consumers. Politicians should trust the economy to develop this kind of solutions. We stand for innovations instead of bans," pleaded Jürgen Roth, CEO of EWO, in his opening speech.


LNG is a global market

Johannes Mayer, Head of Competition and Regulation at E-Control, started by giving an overview of the present and future gas and electricity market. Since the energy crisis, liquefied natural gas (LNG) has developed into a critical energy supply factor and a global market besides classic pipelines. The gas sector makes use of the advantages of liquid energy, such as simple and inexpensive transportability.


e-fuels in Chile

Markus Speith, Head of Solution Development Power-to-X at Siemens Energy, presented "Haru Oni" a Power-to-Liquid plant project in Chile. It produces renewable liquid fuels, so-called e-fuels, using renewable electricity generated by wind turbines. The windy and exposed project area allows for significant scale and impact. The current e-fuel production of 130,000 liters/year could be increased to up to 550 million liters of gasoline/year or 1,000,000 tons/year of methanol by 2028. The e-fuel produced is digitally certified thus guaranteeing its renewable origin to the end consumer.


HVO from Finland

Marko Lietz, Manager Public Affairs at the Finnish company Neste, confirmed the enormous potential of climate-friendly alternatives in contributing to the climate protection. Neste currently produces around 3.3 million tons of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil = hydrogenated vegetable oil from residual and waste materials). It is planned to double the capacity up to 6.8 million tons by 2026. Lietz sees an area of ​​application for HVO in the heating market. "The existing heating infrastructure is already compatible with HVO," says Lietz.


Biodiesel F30 in France

In France, a climate-friendly liquid fuel called "Biofioul F30" (up to 30% FAME added to conventional heating oil) is mandatory for new oil condensing boilers since 2022. The infrastructure is already compatibel with Biofioul F30. Thierry Javit, Managing Director at  Bolloré Energy, explained that this innovation prevented France from an oil heating ban.


Europe needs liquid fuels

Sandrine Devos, Secretary General at Eurofuel, the European Liquid Heating Fuels Association, emphasized that liquid fuels make an important contribution to Europe's energy supply due to their flexibility, affordability, security of supply and efficiency. She added that liquid fuels will play an important role in the decarbonisation of the heating market by 2050. "In order to achieve this ambitious goals, favorable framework conditions are needed, such as political recognition of climate-friendly liquid fuels, investments in innovation and a technology-open approach," says Devos.


Panel discussion - Discrepancy between the political expectations for decarbonizing the energy sector by 2050 and the feasibility for oil heating households.


Key messages

The speakers critisized the fact that any governmental financial support for the phasing out of fossil heating systems covers only a small portion of the total investment costs. In many households not only the boilers needs to be replaced, but a whole range of expensive construction work on the building needs to be undertaken. An effort that hardly pays off.

According to the speakers, the discussions on how to deal with the energy transition should rather focus on the freedom of choice of consumers than on bans and regulations. They plead for openness to technology and speak against a regulatory end date for technologies.

“We are supposed to offer the customers a lot of options. We need diversity in the heating market”, emphasised Moritz Bellingen, President of Eurofuel.


EWO rgbAbout EWO

The prime task of EWO-Austria (Energie.Wärme.Österreich) is the promotion of the efficient use of liquid fuels in the Austrian domestic heating market. For this purpose it especially promotes the maintenance of existing oil heating systems as well as the development and use of renewable liquid heating fuels as future source of energy.