With Technological Openness to Defossilization of the Transport Sector

International Engine Congress on February 27 and 28, 2024 in Baden-Baden discusses drive concepts and fuels of tomorrow

The 11. International Engine Congress will take place in Baden-Baden on February 27 and 28, 2024. (Image source: VDI Wissensforum)

Which engine concepts will power the vehicles of tomorrow, what role will combustion engines and synthetic fuels play in the future – and how can the goal of climate neutrality in the transport sector be achieved as quickly as possible? The 11. International Engine Congress on February 27 and 28, 2024 in Baden-Baden will address questions that are not only on the minds of the automotive industry. Considering the high-caliber speakers, insightful discussions can be expected.

The goal of defossilizing the transport sector will not be achieved in the foreseeable future through the electrification of drive systems alone. Congress chairman Professor Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer is convinced that the existing fleet must also be taken into account in the overall assessment: "With an open approach to technology, a rapid reduction in CO2 in the transport sector in Europe would be possible relatively quickly, as a study by the industrial research association FVV e. V. shows." This is why the long-standing industry insider and renowned drive expert advises a technology mix with an increasing admixture of non-fossil fuels for vehicles with combustion engines – in addition to electrification.

„Climate Neutrality Needs a Mix of Technologies“

Prof. Gutzmer further emphasizes: "In order to become completely climate-neutral in transport, we should use all options: Electromobility, e-fuels, biofuels, methanol-to-gasoline (MtG), hydrogen combustors, fuel cells, hybrids." In addition, the exclusive focus on the electric car in this form is only evident in Europe, according to the congress director: "The strategies of Asian manufacturers, for example – both in Japan and China – are clear: the mobility of tomorrow will rely on a variety of drive systems and fuels, adapted to the respective requirements of the regional markets." He is therefore very keen to hear what leading experts from Japan, China and the USA will report at the congress on the current status quo from a legislative and industrial perspective in their regions.

„Don’t Rely on Electrification Alone“

In an impulse lecture, Benjamin Krieger, Secretary General, CLEPA – European Association of Automotive Suppliers, will address strategies for efficient CO2 reduction: "The automotive suppliers that we represent as CLEPA are 100% behind the goal of reducing CO2 emissions in the mobility sector and achieving climate neutrality in the long term." However, too little is currently being done to achieve this: "It is legitimate and makes sense to consider what other technical options can complement electrification, such as e-fuels and bio-fuels."

According to Krieger, banning technologies will not help: "Instead, we would like to see more openness to technology from the political side and significantly more flexibility." At the same time, he points to the macroeconomic dimensions of this transformation process: "A study commissioned by us came to the conclusion that up to 500,000 jobs could be lost in the European automotive supply industry by 2040. Even if we succeed in establishing a high level of vertical integration for battery cells in Europe, 276,000 jobs would still be affected."

„The Combustion Engine Remains Indispensable“

Another keynote speaker at the International Engine Congress is Prof. Dr. Thomas Koch, Director of the Institute of Piston Engines (IFKM) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He has clear words: "Unfortunately, politicians are often ignoring the realities and physical facts in their discussions and actions. As far as the ban on combustion engines in Europe by 2035 is concerned, I assume that a political correction will be unavoidable. It is clear to me that we will continue to need the combustion engine – as a hybrid and powered by electric or biofuels – alongside the electrified drive."

Prof. Koch also calls for openness to technology, competition between technological systems and a willingness to research and develop hydrogen and e-fuels more intensively: "It is not the efficient energy converter combustion engine that is a discontinued model – but fossil fuels. That's why I don't see electric and combustion engines working against each other, but together."

Key Topics of the Engine Congress

There should therefore be no shortage of topics for discussion at this year's International Engine Congress.

The main topics include:

  • CO2-neutral combustion engines from a global perspective
  • CO2 recycling as a key topic for reFuels
  • Further development potential oft he combustion engine
  • Hydrogen and other sustainable energy sources
  • Legal and technological differences in the markets

High-caliber speakers from science and industry will provide numerous impulses, and a panel discussion on the topic "No Climate Protection Without the Combustion Engine" is also planned.

Accompanying Trade Exhibition

The lecture and discussion program will be rounded off by an accompanying trade exhibition. The International Engine Congress 2024 also offers many opportunities for networking, whether during the breaks or on the first day of the congress at the popular Engine Community Evening.

Registration and program at https://www.vdiconference.com/engine-congress/ and via the VDI Wissensforum Customer Center, P.O. Box 10 11 39, 40002 Duesseldorf, e-mail: wissensforum@vdi.de, phone: +49 211 6214-201, fax: -154.

Press accreditation for the event is available at https://www.vdiconference.com/engine-congress/press/.

About VDI Wissensforum GmbH

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