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Consortium to build Haru Oni – the world's first integrated e-fuels plant

A tri-lateral consortium of German, Italian, and Chilean energy, powertrain, and technology companies have teamed up to develop and implement the world's first integrated commercial e-methanol plant in the Magallanes Region, Chile. Seen as part of Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy, the “Haru Oni” aka Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) pilot project has been awarded a EUR 8 million grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Siemens Energy and Porsche, together with partners, are implementing a pilot project in Chile that is to result in the world’s first integrated and commercial large-scale plant for the production of synthetic, climate-neutral electro-fuels (graphic courtesy Siemens Energy).

First announced in October 2020 during an event attended by Chilean Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet, the pilot project is expected to result in the world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral electro-fuels (e-fuels).

Excellent conditions and low renewable power costs

Chile, with its excellent climate conditions for wind power and the associated low cost of electricity, has a very high potential in international terms for producing, exporting, and locally using green hydrogen.

The “Haru Oni” pilot project in Magallanes Province takes advantage of the excellent wind conditions in southern Chile to produce climate-neutral fuel with the aid of green wind power.

To generate green hydrogen, electrolyzers use wind power to dissociate water into its two components, oxygen and hydrogen. In a second step, plans call for filtering carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air – direct air capture (DAC) – and then combining it with the green hydrogen to form synthetic methanol.

This renewable methanol can be converted into gasoline using a Methanol-To-Gasoline (MTG) technology to be licensed and supported by Exxon Mobil.

Chilean power company AME is the primary developer and owner of the Haru Oni project operating Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project.

Enel Green Power Chile (EGP Chile), a subsidiary of Enel Chile is a co-funder of the plant, with a focus on wind power and electrolysis. Chilean national oil company ENAP will support the project by providing operating staff and with maintenance and logistics.

Support from the German National Hydrogen Strategy

As part of Germany’s national hydrogen strategy, to support the project Siemens Energy will get a grant of some EUR 8 million euros from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Hydrogen is a key component for successfully carrying out the energy transformation in every sector. That’s why, with the National Hydrogen Strategy, we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that hydrogen offers for the climate, energy, and economic policy. We know we won’t be able to cover our national demand out of domestic production alone, and will need international partnerships. So I’m very pleased to see that Siemens Energy and Porsche are developing production capacity in other countries, along with importing structures, for green hydrogen and its daughter products. Thanks to German know-how, for the first time in the world innovation from the laboratory, will now be applied in an integrated, commercial plant, said Federal Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.

Siemens Energy is a co-developer of the project and is serving HIF as a systems integrator to cover the entire value chain – from power generation using Siemens Gamesa wind turbines, producing green hydrogen, and conversion into synthetic methanol.

The company’s flexible Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis solution is, the company says, ideally suited for using volatile wind power.

Establishing a sustainable energy economy is going to require some rethinking. Renewable energy will no longer be produced only where it’s needed, but where natural resources like wind and sun are available on a massive scale. So new supply chains are going to arise all over the world to carry renewable energy from one region to another. That’s especially important for Germany, which – bottom-line – has to import energy if it’s going to meet its nationwide demand. Hydrogen will come to play an increasingly important role in storing and transporting energy. This is why the German government’s support for the project is an important signal, said Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy.

Porsche the primary e-fuels customer

In the pilot phase, around 130 000 litres of e-fuels will be produced as early as 2022. In two further phases, capacity is then to be increased to about 55 million litres of e-fuels per annum by 2024, and to around 550 million litres of e-fuels by 2026.

Porsche will be the primary customer for the green fuel. As the fuel’s primary user, Porsche is planning as a first phase to use the e-fuels from Chile in beacon projects. Those include using the e-fuel in vehicles for Porsche motorsports, at the Porsche Experience Centers, and perspectively also in serial production sports cars.

The sports car maker will start with an initial investment of roughly EUR 20 million.

Electromobility is a top priority at Porsche. E-fuels for cars is a worthwhile complement to that – if they’re produced in parts of the world where a surplus of sustainable energy is available. They are an additional element on the road to decarbonization. Their advantages lie in their ease of application: e-fuels can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids and can make use of the existing network of filling stations. By using them, we can make a further contribution toward protecting the climate. As a maker of high-performance, efficient engines, we have broad technical expertise. We know exactly what fuel characteristics our engines need in order to operate with minimal impact on the climate. Our involvement in the world’s first commercial, integrated e-fuels plant supports the development of the alternative fuels of the future, said Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche.

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