Amazon will start testing ultra-low carbon electrofuels for deliveries in 2023

Amazon is working with Infinium to test the use of so-called electric fuels (e-fuels) in its mid-mile diesel fleet, the company announced. The company invested in Infinium last year to meet its goal of achieving net-zero carbon by 2040. “We have been developing this technology for nearly a decade and expect our electric fuels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 95 percent over traditional fossil fuels,” said Infinium CEO Robert Schuetzle in a statement.

As part of this, Infinium plans to build one of the first-ever electric fuel production facilities in Texas, using renewably produced hydrogen and approximately 18,000 tons of recycled carbon waste per year.

A quarter of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation industry, Amazon notes. Infinium’s e-fuels reportedly help counteract this by combining green hydrogen (from electrolysis) with captured CO2 that would otherwise be emitted by industrial plants. The CO2 and hydrogen are combined into ‘syngas’, which is then converted into liquid fuels via catalytic converters. The resulting “drop-in” fuel can be used directly in existing, unmodified diesel vans.

Infinium Amazon electric fuel for delivery trucks


The vans still emit CO2 emissions, but those would have been produced by the industrial plants anyway, so it’s supposedly a net-zero operation. The electric fuels are about twice as expensive as conventional fuels, Infinium has explained.

There are clearly some issues that come to mind – the first is that the renewable energy used to produce hydrogen could be put to much better use in battery electric vehicles. And neither Amazon nor Infinium have explained where they got the 95 percent reduction number, so I’d take that with a big grain of salt. After all, despite its net-zero commitment by 2040, Amazon’s emissions have increased dramatically over the past year — and that’s probably a drastic undercount.

Nevertheless, it could serve as an intermediate step. Infinium previously noted that Amazon will need liquid fuels for land, sea, and air travel “for a long time.” Amazon is also taking other actions, like using green hydrogen (instead of gray hydrogen made from fossil fuels or other fossil fuels) to power 30,000 forklifts and 800 heavy-duty trucks. It’s also investing in companies developing more efficient hydrogen electrolysers and has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian.

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