Conference Paper

Long-term hydrocarbon trade options for Maghreb core region and Europe - Renewable Energy based synthetic fuels for a net zero emissions world

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Abstract

Growing demand for fossil fuels, increasing emission costs and concerns about climate change are drivers for new sources of fuels. This paper discusses new sources of sustainable carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels for Europe, and a respective business case for the Maghreb core region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Sahara), in 2030 and 2040. Hybrid PV-Wind power plants can be used to harvest the excellent solar and wind energy potentials of the Maghreb region. This can power power-togas (PtG) and power-to-liquids (PtL) facilities to generate synthetic natural gas (SNG) or synthetic liquid fuels (SLF), mainly diesel, respectively. RE-SNG can be injected into the European gas grid through natural gas pipelines connecting the Maghreb region to Southern Europe or liquefied into LNG and shipped to Northern Europe for the least transportation cost. RE-diesel and RE-jet fuel can be also shipped to European ports. Calculations for hybrid PV-Wind power plants, batteries, CO2 capture plants, water desalination, PtG and PtL plants are done based on an hourly resolution to find the least cost combination of different technologies in a 0.45° × 0.45° spatial resolution. The results show that, for 7% WACC, the RE-SNG and RE-diesel can be produced in 2030 for a minimum cost of 73 €/MWh (28.5 USD/MBtu) and 81 €/MWh (0.78 €/l), respectively. While in 2040, the minimum production costs for RE-SNG and RE-diesel can drop to 65 €/MWh (25.4 USD/MBtu) and 73 €/MWh (0.71 €/l), respectively. The production cost can be decreased by about 21%, depending on access to a WACC of 5% in a de-risking project and oxygen sales. In an optimized combination of PV and wind installed capacities with maximum land usage of 10% for each, the generation potential of synthetic fuels would be about 18,500 TWh and 23,000 TWh in 2030 and 2040, respectively. In the best scenario, RE-diesel can reach the fuel-parity for crude oil prices of 95 and 82 USD/bbl in 2013 and 2040, respectively. Thus, RE-synthetic fuels could be produced to answer fuel demand and to remove environmental concerns in Europe for an affordable cost. This could be an opportunity for the Maghreb countries to export carbon neutral hydrocarbons to Europe, where environmental limitations on conventional hydrocarbons are getting increasingly tighter.

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... Very long power lines between 1500 and 2000 km or more do not generate financial benefits, as found so far for Northeast Asia [47]. Other limiting factors include an inability to integrate the vast wind resource potential of Northwest Russia for Europe [52], utilize excellent solar and wind resources in the Maghreb region for synthetic fuel production [53], and connect Australia to East Asia, as shown in this article. The main reason in all the above cases is the same: the costs related to the transmission of low-cost solar and wind electricity are too high compared to local energy storage for the case of very long power lines. ...
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... Efficiency assumptions for HVDC transmission according to Dii[9]. Assumptions for RE-SNG value chain[10,11].Table S6. Regional biomass potentials[12].Table S7. ...
... Very long power lines between 1500 and 2000 km or more do not generate financial benefits, as found so far for Northeast Asia [47]. Other limiting factors include an inability to integrate the vast wind resource potential of Northwest Russia for Europe [52], utilize excellent solar and wind resources in the Maghreb region for synthetic fuel production [53], and connect Australia to East Asia, as shown in this article. The main reason in all the above cases is the same: the costs related to the transmission of low-cost solar and wind electricity are too high compared to local energy storage for the case of very long power lines. ...
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