Synthetic fuels “reFuels”: In collaboration with KIT Karlsruhe, Caterpillar Energy Solutions researches the use of climate-friendly biofuel alternatives for combustion engines.

Mannheim, October 11, 2018

The carbon emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels for passenger and goods transportation has a major impact on the climate change. The objective of the “reFuels” project agreed between the government of the federal state, KIT, and the industry is to research eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. The project focuses on the “reFuels” that can be produced synthetically from regenerative sources. Additionally, it is to be examined how regenerative fuels affect harmful emissions as well as the operation of vehicles and of individual components. The use of “reFuels” as biofuels is not only more eco-friendly, it also represents a major step toward the achievement of climate goals.

Pilot plant
Pilot plant “bioliq” (Photo: © KIT 2018)

Gaining “reFuels” from Biogenic Raw Materials

Synthetic fuels can be gained from regenerative raw materials such as biogenic waste. For example, this includes organic waste, wastewater, and agricultural and forestry byproducts that accumulate when processing biomass.

Apart from the pilot plant “bioliq”, in which high-quality fuels can already be produced from biogenic raw materials and leftovers, a second platform for the production of “reFuels” will be constructed within the framework of the research project. Henceforth, various technologies for the generation and use of electrical, thermal, and chemical energy are to be combined and diverse fuel components such as diesel and fuels are to be produced in the “Energy Lab 2.0” plant array. 

Effective Use of Regenerative Energy Sources

Besides economic concerns, synthetic fuels made from regenerative energy sources are also getting more and more important under consideration of the energy reform and climate protection. 

Under its MWM brand, Caterpillar Energy Solutions offers biogas-optimized gas engines, complete plants, and containers for combined heat and power (CHP) generation. Biogas is a resource-saving, climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels that is gained by digesting biological material in biogas plants. MWM cogeneration power plants (CHP plants) enable economic, efficient energy generation. The employed energy is transformed into electrical energy and heat by the technical systems on site. The resulting exhaust heat can be reused directly and is not lost. Cogeneration power plants that produce power from biogas prevent the climate-damaging emissions released by fossil fuels.

Further information: