Porsche begins production of synthetic fuel in bid to keep ICEs alive

Porsche, together with its international partners and the Chilean operating company Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF), have officially begun industrial production of synthetic fuels at a new pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Dubbed ‘Haru Oni’, the pilot plant will be producing synthetic fuel using water, carbon dioxide, as well wind energy, which enables the “nearly CO2-neutral operation of petrol engines”.

Porsche Executive Board members Barbara Frenkel and Michael Steiner performed the ceremonial fuelling of a Porsche 911 with the first synthetic fuel produced at the site.

In the pilot phase, the Haru Oni plant is targetting a production of around 130,000 litres of eFuel (Porsche’s name for synthetic fuel) per year. For now, the fuel will be used in other Porsche lighthouse projects such as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and at Porsche centres.

After the pilot phase, however, the production capacity is scheduled to scale up to 55 million litres per year by 2025, and then a 10-times jump to 550 million litres just two years later.

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The south of Chile was selected for the pilot project specifically for its weather conditions, with wind blowing for around 270 days a year which enables the wind turbines to operate at full capacity for the majority of the time. Punta Arenas is also located close to the Strait of Magellan, which allows for easy exporting of the eFuel using existing infrastructure at the port of Cabo Negro.

“Porsche is committed to a double-e path: e-mobility and eFuels as a complementary technology,” says Porsche AG executive board member for Procurement, Barbara Frenkel. “Using eFuels reduces CO2 emissions. Looking at the entire traffic sector, the industrial production of synthetic fuels should keep being pushed forward worldwide. With the eFuels pilot plant, Porsche is playing a leading role in this development.”

Porsche AG executive board member for Development and Research, Michael Steiner added, “The potential of eFuels is huge. There are currently more than 1.3 billion vehicles with combustion engines worldwide. Many of these will be on the roads for decades to come, and eFuels offer the owners of existing cars a nearly carbon-neutral alternative.”

Porsche has committed to being carbon-neutral across its entire value chain by 2030, including a CO2-neutral usage phase for future fully-electric models. The company has already invested over USD100 million in the development and production of eFuels, and has plans to expand the production of such synthetic fuels to the USA and Australia.

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Porsche is not the only major carmaker committed to developing carbon-neutral alternative fuel systems, in addition to the industry-wide EV push. Most recently, Toyota’s hydrogen combustion concept race car, the ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 concept, participated in the Thailand 25H Endurance Race as part of its development process.

Formula 1, widely regarded as the pinnacle of motorsports, have also committed to the development and use of renewable fuels. The series already uses an E10 fuel blend (10% ethanol content) as of 2022, and is looking to implement 100% renewable fuels in its cars as soon as 2025 to coincide with the new engine regulations. The move has already attract new carmakers, such as Audi and potentially Porsche, to invest in the motorsports series.


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