Porsche starts to use thin air and water to replace gasoline

Porsche's plant will produce green hydrogen via a process called electrolysis.
Loukia Papadopoulos
A Porsche 911.jpg
A Porsche 911.

Porsche AG  

Porsche and international partners working with the Chilean operating company Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) have successfully undertaken the development of synthetic fuels made out of thin air and water, according to a press release by the firm published last week. The production of these fuels will take place at the ‘Haru Oni’ pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile.

A process called electrolysis

Haru Oni will produce green hydrogen via a process called electrolysis using sustainable and green renewable energy derived from wind power. The facility will also capture CO2 from the atmosphere and use a process of synthesis to combine the CO2 and hydrogen to produce eFuels, including carbon-neutral methanol (eMethanol), carbon-neutral gasoline (eGasoline) and carbon-neutral Liquefied Gas (eLG). These eFuels offer a key opportunity for existing infrastructure to become carbon neutral by continuously reusing and recycling CO2.

“Porsche is committed to a double-e path: e-mobility and eFuels as a complementary technology. 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,” said Barbara Frenkel, Member of the Executive Board for Procurement at Porsche AG.

Porsche starts to use thin air and water to replace gasoline
The ‘Haru Oni’ pilot plant in Punta Arenas.

“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. As the manufacturer of high-performance, efficient engines, Porsche has a wide range of know-how in the field of fuels,” added Michael Steiner, a member of the Executive Board for Development and Research at Porsche AG.

In the pilot phase of the project, Porsche has planned eFuel production of around 130,000 liters (34,342 gallons) per year. After that, the first round of scaling will take the project up to a projected 55 million liters (14.53 million gallons) per year. Around two years later, the capacity is expected to rise ten times that amount to up to 550 million liters (145.3 million gallons) per year.

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Contributing to the fight against climate change

César Norton, President, and CEO of HIF Global, said in a statement: “First synthetic fuels at Haru Oni is a milestone in the fight against climate change, not only for Chile but for the entire world. A little over a year ago, we had the groundbreaking of this dream that today becomes a reality: to produce eFuels with the power of the Patagonian wind. It is a concrete solution, here and now, to the main challenge of humanity. We are proud to take this first step here in Punta Arenas because we know it will be decisive for the future of the next generations.”

The south of Chile offers ideal conditions for the production of eFuels as wind in the region blows for around 270 days a year. This enables wind turbines to operate at full capacity producing the much-needed energy required for the development of eFuels.