I am an advocate for the Circular Carbon Economy. I believe in renewable hydrocarbons.
I haven’t selected a specific molecule or blend of molecules, but for this discussion, let’s consider propane/heptane as the energy carrier. I am specifically working on the synthesis of hydrocarbons such as propane/heptane using renewable electricity and biologically derived technologies. I expect good thermodynamic results for step 1 someday.
Power ==> propane/heptane.
Storage and transport (steps 2 and 3) are largely compatible with existing infrastructure.
Step 4 as combustion is clearly compatible with today’s infrastructure. To avoid the many negative effects of hydrocarbon combustion, I recommend research into hydrocarbon fuel cells which will produce electricity from propane/heptane.
I think the round trip energy lifecycle must give careful consideration to net thermodynamic efficiencies.
I also think storage is also a very important consideration. In our existing system (the United States), we have hydrocarbon storage everywhere. Tanks, trains, pipelines and the wells themselves. We also have the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) which contains a tremendous amount of energy.
I don’t see the battery equivalent or the hydrogen equivalent to the SPR ever existing.
The energy density of hydrocarbons for storage and transport is of proven value. I have not seen an effective alternative to hydrocarbons.
Where in the cycle are the innovation gaps that should get more attention from innovators?
I advocate for increased research into the renewable synthesis of hydrocarbons using renewable electricity. This should be complimented by research to create fuel cells from propane and heptane.