The core objective of this paper is to investigate the perspectives of “renewable fuels” mainly from an energetic point-of-view in a dynamic framework until 2050 in comparison to fossil fuels. In addition, the impact on the economic prospects of an improvement of the energetic performance is analyzed. As renewable fuels, various categories of first and second generation biofuels as well as electricity and hydrogen from renewable energy sources are considered. The most important results of this analysis are: (i) While for first generation biofuels, the relatively high share of fossil energy is the major problem, for second generation biofuels, the major problems are the low conversion efficiency and the corresponding high input of renewable feedstocks. Up to 2050, it is expected that these problems will be relieved, but only slightly. (ii) The energetic improvements up to 2050 will lead to substantial reduction of energetic losses in the well-to-tank as well as in the tank-to-wheel part of the energy service provision chain. (iii) By 2050, the total driving costs of all analyzed fuels and powertrains will almost even out. (iv) The major uncertainty for battery electric and fuel cell vehicles is how fast technological learning will take place especially for the battery and the fuel cells.

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