Porsche and Siemens launch low-carbon e-fuel plant in Chile

70 percent of the cars Porsche has made are still on the road.  Since it wants to keep it that way, it is developing a synthetic fuel that emits 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline derived from fossil fuels.
in great shape / 70 percent of the cars Porsche has made are still on the road. Since it wants to keep it that way, it is developing a synthetic fuel that emits 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline derived from fossil fuels.

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Even with the best will in the world, it would take us years to fully decarbonize our transportation. The UK, France, China and even California have announced plans to phase out sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines in the late 2030s, but to our knowledge, none of these The plan does not already include a ban on vehicles on the roads. If those cars and trucks are going to last for some time, we’re going to have to get creative when it comes to fuel.

That’s why I’m a little excited about the collaboration between Porsche and Siemens. As we reported earlier this year, Porsche and Siemens are developing a low-carbon synthetic fuel that combines green hydrogen (produced by wind-powered electrolysis) with carbon dioxide (filtered from the atmosphere) to form methane. which in turn is converted to gasoline.

On Friday, the two organizations broke ground at the Haru Oni ​​manufacturing plant near Punta Arenas in Chile. Assuming that as planned, the plant should be able to produce 34,000 gallons (130,000 L) of synthetic fuel in 2022, scaling up to 14.5 million gallons (55 million L) by 2024 and 145 million gallons (550 million L) by 2026. before doing. , at a cost of about $7.6 per gallon ($2 per liter).

“We have, at least the best estimate, that we can reduce our carbon footprint by 90 percent,” explained Michael Steiner, research and development member of the Porsche Executive Board. “So, there’s still some residual CO.2 The footprint from mixing and other processes, and you have to keep in mind that we have the expertise to design this fuel fully compatible to existing fuels and existing engines and that’s the key to success,” explained Steiner.

Porsche’s particular interest in synthetic fuels is driven by the fact that 70 percent of the cars ever built are still on the road. “So we already did testing on historic 911 cars with e-fuel, and it’s one of our tasks in this project that we have the expertise to specify the fuel in a way that it’s actually made by us.” engines,” Steiner said.

“I’m talking about naturally aspirated, really high-revving engines like the GT3 or GT3 RS, or the 911 Turbo, and the fuel is even possible for our historic cars, and we’re really sure that’s the case. Maybe – our tests are really promising. We are in the middle of testing with current modern engines as well as with historical engines,” he said.

To start, Porsche will use synthetic fuels to power racing cars in the Supercup series, a single-make race series for the Porsche 911. But as production increases, Steiner says it could also be used at various Porsche Experience Centers around the world, as well as for the first fill of new cars built at its various factories. In addition, the fuel could be introduced into markets where carbon taxes make it attractive, displacing gasoline derived from fossil fuels extracted from the ground.

It may also find itself a high profile customer. Formula 1 has announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2030, which would require the use of synthetic fuels (though to be clear, the vast majority of the sport’s carbon emissions come from teams and fans going to races). Comes from computational fluid dynamics. Server farms and wind tunnels, not 20 race cars burn ~100kg of fuel each race day).

Steiner confirmed that Porsche and Formula 1 are already in discussions. “We’ve had talks with Formula 1, yes. And we’ll be able to give them a share, but not just at the beginning,” he told me.

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