Porsche is set to create its own climate-neutral synthetic fuel by 2022. The iconic sports car manufacturer is collaborating with Siemens Energy to create fully synthetic eFuel.
The project, called Haru Oni, and based in southern Chile, is aiming to deliver 130,000 litres of eFuel that could replace conventional fossil fuels – petrol and diesel – in some of its cars.
If the project goes according to plan, Porsche and Siemens intend to produce 55 million litres of eFuel a year by 2024 and 550 million litres per year by the second half of the decade.
So what is eFuel?
eFuel is a fully synthetic compound that copies the complex hydrocarbons found in conventional fossil fuels.
It uses wind-sourced electricity to make hydrogen and oxygen from water, then combines this with CO2 that’s filtered from the atmosphere to form methanol. That is then transformed into petrol that’s usable in conventional engine vehicles.
But what about electric cars?
Like all car manufacturers, Porsche is committed (in part by law) to moving toward electric vehicles in the long term. However, its view is that switching from internal combustion engines to electric power is moving too slowly. It sees eFuels as a potential way to achieve carbon-neutral and sustainability targets faster.
“Electromobility is a top priority at Porsche,” says Porsche CEO Oliver Blume. “eFuels for cars are a worthwhile complement to that – if they’re produced in parts of the world where a surplus of sustainable energy is available.
“They are an additional element on the road to decarbonization. Their advantages lie in their ease of application: eFuels can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids, and can make use of the existing network of filling stations.”
So what vehicles will use eFuels?
For Porsche, synthetic fuels will initially be used in its motorsports programmes. This will give a boost to racing series that use internal combustion engines to power their cars, as it gives them a way to lessen their environmental impact without significant technological investment in electrically powered racing series.
Further down the line, Porsche also plans to use eFuels for its Experience Centres and, eventually, for ordinary production road cars.