Porsche’s synthetic fuel plant is underway


Around 70 per cent of all Porsches ever built are still on the road, and carbon-friendly fuel could keep them going for longer.

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Around 70 per cent of all Porsches ever built are still on the road, and carbon-friendly fuel could keep them going for longer.

Porsche has announced that work is underway on its new synthetic fuel plant in Chile, which will produce 550 million litres of fuel by 2026.

According to the company, the fuel will be able to be used in any Porsche in its current range without modification. It will be rolled out to its one-make 911 Supercup race series next year before being made available for passenger cars.

The Haru Oni plant is being built in collaboration with Siemens Energy, AME and Enel, as well as Chilean petrol company ENAP.

It is being constructed in southern Chile for its blustery wind conditions, to create a low-carbon synthetic fuel combined from green hydrogen produced by wind-powered electrolysis with carbon dioxide. This forms methane, which is then turned into petrol.

It is expected the plant will produce around 130,000 litres of the CO2-neutral fuel in 2022, before expanding to 55 million litres in 2024, then 550 million litres in 2026. The fuel is expected to reduce CO2 emissions in combustion engines by as much as 90 per cent.

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Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, said in a release that the company sees itself “as pioneers when it comes to renewable fuels, and we want to drive development forward.”

A render of the Haro Uni synthetic fuel plant in Chile.

Supplied

A render of the Haro Uni synthetic fuel plant in Chile.

“It means that Porsche as a whole will have a CO2 neutral balance sheet as early as 2030, and fuels produced with renewable energy can make a contribution to this.

He went on to say that around 70 per cent of all Porsches built are still on the road, which also helped push the company to produce the synthetic fuel.

It could eventually be made available to all combustion cars, as Porsche’s head of GT sports cars and the 911 product line, Frank Walliser, previously said that there is “no change to the engine necessary, unlike what we have seen with E10 and E20, so really, everybody can use it, and we are testing with the regular specs of pump fuel.

Emissions from engines fed by the new fuel drop by around 90 per cent compared to regular petrol.

Damien O’Carroll/Stuff

Emissions from engines fed by the new fuel drop by around 90 per cent compared to regular petrol.

“It has no impact on performance – some horses more, so it’s going in the right direction – but emissions are way better; we see fewer particles, less NOx – so that’s going in the right direction”.

Making it available to all vehicles is a bit trickier, however, as it would need to be accepted by various governments to be sold in petrol stations, especially as many are moving to outlaw the sale of new combustion vehicles altogether.

There’s even a chance Porsche could sell the fuel to Formula 1, which wants to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Speaking to Ars Technica, Steiner confirmed that Porsche and F1 have been talking: “We would be able to give them a share, but not just now in the beginning.”



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