Half of all CO2 emissions produced by human activity in Switzerland are caused by road traffic. These emissions must be reduced, as Switzerland has committed itself to this objective within the scope of its Energy Strategy 2050. Leaving one’s car in the garage and switching to public transport is by far the best solution, but this is not an option for everyone. Alternatives are needed, and one of them is to switch to renewable fuels that can be produced climate-neutrally. One of these is synthetic natural gas, which is nothing more than artificially produced methane. In terms of the implementation of the energy strategy it is of particular interest, as a car running on synthetic natural gas kills two birds with one stone. Firstly, fluctuations in energy production will be unavoidable if, according to plan, Switzerland increasingly relies on renewable energies such as solar and wind energy: sun and wind are not always available when needed. Conversely, energy is also produced when there is no demand. Precisely this electricity can be used to produce synthetic gas, which thus functions as a long-term energy storage. Batteries, on the other hand, are useful for short-term storage.
Secondly, this renewable fuel is produced from CO2, turning this greenhouse gas into a resource. Boris Meier, the project leader, and the team surrounding Markus Friedl, professor at the Institute for Energy Technology at the Hochschule für Technik in Rapperswil (HSR), have investigated whether and under what conditions synthetic natural gas has the potential to become a fuel substitute for Swiss road traffic. Their conclusion is that the future use of methane as a fuel in road traffic is much more a political than a technical question.