E-fuels have long been thought of as one way to realise a carbon–neutral energy economy but many concerns over their economic feasibility have arisen over the years, shifting the dialogue away from their utilization, even though they provide a way to carbon-neutrally power the existing fossil fuel intensive infrastructures. In this article, we assess the potential of e-fuels as a net-zero carbon pathway and the economic implications of shifting the entire fuel demand in Saudi Arabia for powering its transportation needs to e-fuels through MTO-MOGD (Methanol-to-Olefin, Mobil's Olefin to Gasoline and Distillate Fuels) process. This demand is currently ∼ 1 million barrel oil equivalent per day, and the study conducts a techno-economic analysis on a process simulation plant modelled to meet this demand. A minimum fuel selling price of 3.24 USD/litre for e-gasoline and 2.89 USD/litre for e-diesel were estimated, when the plant was powered by solar power. Levelized cost of e-fuel was estimated to be the lowest (∼379 USD/MWh) when the process was entirely powered by an in-situ solar photovoltaic plant and lithium ion battery banks and highest (∼564 USD/MWh) when the process was modified to produce additional methanol (while still being powered entirely by solar energy), across four different scenarios that were considered. These results show the economic implications of e-fuels aimed at decarbonizing the road transport (legacy fleet) and consequently the need for continuous and significant policy support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117271
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date11 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the work done by Giuseppe Pezzella, (PhD student, KAUST) with process modelling during the initial phase of this study.


  • Carbon–neutral
  • E-fuels
  • Energy mix
  • Power-to-Liquids
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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