Carbon-based powerfuels such as synthetic kerosene, methanol or diesel will be necessary for far-reaching emission reductions across different sectors and applications. For their production, carbon dioxide is required as a feedstock material. This utilisation of CO2 as a raw material is still a novel idea and so far, there is no common understanding among stakeholders on which carbon sources to use for powerfuels production. In addition, the current European regulatory framework offers little indication regarding which type of carbon sources are eligible in order for the produced powerfuels to be considered as renewable. It is therefore vital to define which carbon sources are eligible for use in powerfuels production. Time is especially pressing as uncertainty about how emission reductions through the capture and re-use of CO2 are to be credited is currently undermining the planning and investment security that would enable the market ramp-up of powerfuels.
To add to the pan-European multi-stakeholder discussion on this issue, this paper offers an analysis of the different carbon sources that are potentially available for powerfuels production, as well as the current regulatory framework with regard to Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies, the EU ETS and the RED II. In our analysis, we differentiate between industrial CO2 point sources, biogenic CO2 sources and CO2 from ambient air. These three categories of carbon sources are assessed under the criteria of cost, scalability/ expected long-term availability, regional availability, greenhouse gas intensity of the capture process, unavoidability, and verifiability/ certifiability.
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