The objectives of ASFE are to investigate and promote synthetic fuels as part of the solution for reducing dependence on oil, as well as a way to reduce vehicle emissions and increase energy efficiency.
ASFE defines synthetic fuels as a new generation of near-zero sulfur and aromatics fuels made from natural gas (gas-to-liquid, or GTL), coal (CTL) or biomass (BTL). GTL is a practical solution today, with a number of plants under construction. BTL is still in the R&D stage. Although GTL fuels have a similar greenhouse gas impact to petroleum fuels, BTL offers the potential for a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Synthetic fuels are attractive because they are completely compatible with existing diesel engines and fuel distribution infrastructure. ASFE is apparently touting synthetic fuels as Europe's solution to reducing its petroleum dependency, in contrast to the U.S. government's promotion of ethanol.
Members of the ASFE are DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Shell, Sasol Chevron and Volkswagen.