STIHL is constantly working to permanently reduce the direct and indirect carbon emissions of its products, thereby contributing to combating climate change. As a world-leading manufacturer, this applies to power tools with battery electric drive systems as well as power tools with combustion engines. While locally CO2-free work with battery power tools is already possible by using green electricity, new solutions are also in sight with synthetic alternative fuels, which can run power tools with combustion engines in a practically carbon-neutral manner and without any loss of performance. And they can even be used in tools which have been in use for 10, 20 or more years.
While environmental protection for battery electric drives primarily means the reduction of carbon emissions in power tool manufacturing, the combustion engine requires the strategy to be turned around: Here, the priority is to reduce operational carbon emissions. This is made possible with fuels that are produced entirely or partly from biomass, such as wood waste, and with ‘e-fuels’, which are almost carbon-neutral in use. The use of alternative fuels is important and particularly valuable where the use of battery power tools reaches its limits – for example in particularly remote areas and in regions without a power supply.
With MotoMix, STIHL has developed a synthetic alkylate fuel that has significant advantages over conventional gas station fuel. These include significantly lower pollutant and exhaust gas pollution during use, reduced build-up of deposits in the power tools, and greater efficiency.
STIHL is taking the next step with MotoMix Eco: By adding biogenic components, e.g. wood residues from forestry, carbon emissions can currently be reduced by a further 8% compared to MotoMix. And by gradually increasing the biogenic content, MotoMix Eco can be completely carbon-neutral in the future. The result: The ability to work with a combustion engine without emitting climate-damaging CO2.
E-fuels offer the option of operating combustion engines in a carbon-neutral manner, using synthetically produced liquid fuels. Producing them essentially requires two ingredients: Green hydrogen and carbon.
Green hydrogen is produced using renewable electricity (e.g. wind power) and derived from water. The carbon needed can be taken from the atmosphere for example, in the form of CO2. E-fuels are then produced using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, for example. This primarily results in low-sulfur synthetic fuels that are practically climate-neutral, as during combustion they only emit the previously extracted CO2 into the atmosphere. In addition, useful by-products are produced in the creation of e-fuels, which are used e.g. in the chemical industry and replace crude oil as a raw material for example.
In the interests of its customers around the world, STIHL is not only focusing on battery technology, it is also working on being able to operate power tools with combustion engines in a climate-neutral manner. One way to make the use of carbon-based fuels more climate-friendly is to further develop existing special fuels in the direction of e-fuels. There are a large number of fast-moving projects well underway worldwide for the production of climate-neutral fuels. Take Haru Oni in the windy south of Chile, for example. The pilot plant for the production of e-fuels in Patagonia, a project which Porsche and Siemens are also involved in, is supported by bodies including the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. The operator is the Chilean company Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF), which is currently building its first large-scale plant in sunny Texas and is planning further plants in Chile, North Africa and Australia. Even though it may take a few years before e-fuels are available in large volumes, they nonetheless offer a long-term alternative – i.e. the possibility of operating power tools with combustion engines in a carbon-neutral manner and in this way permanently and efficiently contributing to combating climate change.
E-fuels are an alternative to biofuels! True. Unlike many biofuels, e-fuels do not have to compete with food production as they are produced without the use of plant matter and biomass.
E-fuels require special engines! False. E-fuels can be used in all STIHL power tools with combustion engines straight away, including older models – and that can contribute to an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions.
The production of e-fuels is very energy-intensive! True. This means e-fuels have to be produced in locations where renewable electricity is available in large quantities, to ensure there are no disadvantages for the population and their supply of renewable energy.
The transport and distribution of e-fuels causes additional CO2 emissions!False. No new infrastructure needs to be built for the use of e-fuels. Just like currently used fuels, e-fuels can be transported in canisters or refueled at gas stations.
E-fuels make previous combustion engines more environmentally friendly! True. By using e-fuels, existing tool fleets could be made more environmentally friendly very quickly, because the use of the power tools with e-fuels causes virtually no more CO2 emissions.