Porsche is investing nearly A$100 million in the development of an environmentally friendly synthetic fuel, with the potential to keep new and existing internal combustion vehicles running indefinitely.
Acquiring a long-term stake (12.5%) in eFuel specialist HIF Global, Porsche’s capital injection will help support the construction of a pilot production plant in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Already working with Siemens Energy and ExxonMobil on synthetic fuel production through the combination of hydrogen and CO2 (using wind power), Porsche expects production to begin in the middle of this year.
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According to Porsche Research and Development Manager Michael Steiner, “electrically based” synthetic fuels will allow nearly CO2-neutral operation of internal combustion engines.
“The eFuel produced is compatible with the existing super fuel grade that you buy at the pump, and current internal combustion models will not need to be modified, although some items may need to be added to avoid degradation of some rubber parts in older engines,” he said.
The initial application of the new fuel will likely be in Porsche’s motorsport programs, followed by the company’s own vehicles, initial refueling of customer vehicles and the brand’s 10 Experience Centers around the world.
And the famous German car manufacturer does not stop there. Barbara Frenkel, the company’s chief procurement officer, said that through her stake in HIF Global, the scope of the new technology will include automotive, aviation and shipping, as well as industrial. chemical where e-methanol (an intermediate product used in the creation of eFuel) can replace raw materials of fossil origin.
At the same time, Formula 1 is turning to high-energy eFuel for continued use of internal combustion engines. It is exploring a range of options from carbon capture to using municipal waste, algae or agricultural by-products as building blocks, with plans to run on eFuel from 2026.
F1 says it is looking to work with oil companies so that eFuel can eventually be made available beyond motor racing for widespread public use.