Given the actions of lawmakers, governments and environmentalists, it’s not surprising that the overwhelming majority of automakers are taking drastic action to shift production to all-electric ranges, with some bridging the gap through hybridization. The vast majority don’t include Porsche, yes they have the Taycan and hybrids in both the Panamera and Cayenne ranges but the 911 has yet to be touched by hybridization but their most iconic model is still firmly petroleum powered .
A few years ago, Porsche announced that it was exploring the production of synthetic eFuels, a nearly carbon-neutral fuel that could soon power cars without modifications. It’s almost time now and the Chilean plant will not only be officially opened, but the first 911 is brimming with the fuel that is giving hope to enthusiasts around the world.
The “Haru Oni” pilot plant in Punta Arenas (Chile) was officially opened last week in the presence of the Chilean Energy Minister Diego Pardow. The Porsche board members Barbara Frenkel and Michael Steiner completed the ceremonial refueling of a Porsche 911 with the first synthetic fuel produced at the site. eFuels from water and carbon dioxide using wind energy enable the almost CO2-neutral operation of petrol engines.
“The potential of eFuels is huge. There are currently more than 1.3 billion vehicles with internal combustion engines worldwide. Many of these will be on the roads for decades to come, and eFuels offer owners of existing cars an almost climate-neutral alternative. As a manufacturer of powerful and efficient engines, Porsche has extensive know-how in the field of fuels,” adds Michael Steiner, Member of the Board of Management for Development and Research at Porsche AG.
In the pilot phase, eFuel production of around 130,000 liters per year is planned. The fuel will initially be used in lighthouse projects such as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and in Porsche Experience Centers. After the pilot phase, the project in Chile is expected to grow to 55 million liters per year with the first scaling by the middle of the decade. Around two years later, the capacity should be 550 million liters.
The south of Chile offers ideal conditions for the production of eFuels, because the wind blows around 270 days a year and lets the wind turbines run at full capacity. Punta Arenas is also near the Strait of Magellan. From the port of Cabo Negro, the synthetic eFuel can be transported around the world like conventional fuels and distributed via the existing infrastructure.
Porsche is aiming for a CO2-neutral balance across the entire value chain by 2030. This also includes a CO2-neutral usage phase for future all-electric models. Synthetic fuels complement electromobility and are part of the sports car manufacturer’s sustainability strategy. Porsche has already invested more than 100 million US dollars in the development and production of eFuels. In April 2022, the sports car manufacturer invested USD 75 million in HIF Global LLC. This company plans, builds and operates eFuel plants in Chile, the USA and Australia.