In Chile, a consortium of American, German, Italian, and Chilean energy, powertrain, and technology companies have started the industrial production of synthetic fuels. In the presence of Chilean Energy Minister Diego Pardow, the ‘Haru Oni’ eFuels pilot plant in Punta Arenas was officially opened on December 20, 2022.
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The Haru Oni eFuels project is being developed by Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF), an international electro-fuels (eFuel) company based in Chile, with the participation of Germany-headed sports automaker Porsche AG together with compatriot Siemens Energy along with Enel, ExxonMobil, Gasco, and ENAP.
Using wind power and direct air capture (DAC), eFuels made from water and carbon dioxide (C02) enable the nearly CO2-neutral operation of gasoline 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.
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.
In the pilot phase, eFuel production of around 130 000 litres per year is planned. Initially, the fuel is to be used in lighthouse projects such as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and at Porsche Experience Centers.
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, said Michael Steiner, a Member of the Executive Board for R&D at Porsche.
After the pilot phase, the first scaling will take the Haru Oni eFuels project in Chile up to a projected 55 million litres per year by the middle of the decade.
Around two years later the capacity is expected to be 550 million litres.
The south of Chile offers ideal conditions for the production of eFuels, with the wind blowing for around 270 days a year and enabling the wind turbines to operate at full capacity.
Punta Arenas is also located close to the Strait of Magellan. From the Port of Cabo Negro, the synthetic eFuel can be transported just like traditional fuels all over the world, and be distributed using the existing infrastructure.
Porsche is working towards a CO2-neutral balance sheet across the entire value chain by 2030.
This also includes a CO2-neutral usage phase for future all-electric models. Synthetic fuels supplement electromobility and are part of the sports car manufacturer’s sustainability strategy.
Porsche has already invested over US$100 million in the development and production of eFuels, and invested US$75 million in HIF Global LLC in April 2022.
HIF Global plans to build and operates eFuel plants in Australia, Chile, and the United States (US).