Enlarge / 70 percent of the cars Porsche has built are still on the road. Because it wants to keep it that way, it is developing a synthetic fuel that emits 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline derived from fossil fuels.
Even with the best will in the world, it will be many years before we fully decarbonize our transportation. The UK, France, China and even California have announced plans to phase out the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by the late 2030s, but as far as we know, none of these plans include a ban on vehicles that they are already on the road. If those cars and trucks are going to keep driving for a while longer, it behooves us to be creative when it comes to the fuel they consume.
So I’m a bit excited about the collaboration between Porsche and Siemens to do just that. As we reported earlier this year, Porsche and Siemens are developing a low-carbon synthetic fuel that combines green hydrogen (produced by wind-driven electrolysis) with carbon dioxide (filtered from the atmosphere) to form methane, which in turn turns into gasoline.
On Friday, the two organizations began construction of the Haru Oni manufacturing plant near Punto Arenas in Chile. Assuming all goes according to plan, the plant should be able to produce 34,000 gallons (130,000 L) of synthetic fuel in 2022, before escalating to 14.5 million gallons (55 million L) by 2024 and 145 million gallons (550 million L) by 2024. L) by 2026., at a cost of about $ 7.6 per gallon ($ 2 per L).
“We have at least the best guess, that we could reduce the carbon footprint by 90 percent,” explained Michael Steiner, member of Porsche’s executive board for research and development. “So there is still some residual CO2 footprint of blending and other processes, and you should keep in mind that we have the experience to design this fuel fully compatible with existing fuel and existing engines, and this is key to success, “explained Steiner.
Porsche’s particular interest in synthetic fuels stems from the fact that 70 percent of the cars it has made are still on the road. “So we’ve already tested historic 911s with electronic fuel, and that’s one of our tasks on this project – we have the expertise to specify the fuel in a way that is truly compatible with the engines we make,” Steiner. said.
“I’m talking about very high revving naturally aspirated engines like the GT3 or GT3 RS, or the 911 Turbo, and fuel is feasible for our historic cars as well, and we’re really confident this could be the case: Our tests are really promising. We’re in the middle of testing with current modern engines as well as historic engines, “he said.
For starters, Porsche will use the synthetic fuel to power race cars in the Supercup series, a single-make racing series for Porsche 911s. But as production ramps up, Steiner says it could also be used in various Porsches. Experience Center around the world, as well as for the first filling of new cars manufactured in its various factories. Beyond that, the fuel could find its way into markets where carbon taxes make it attractive, displacing gasoline derived from fossil fuels drawn from the ground.
You could even become a high-profile customer. Formula 1 has announced a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030, which will require the use of synthetic fuel (although, to be clear, the vast majority of the sport’s carbon emissions come from teams and fans traveling to races. , as well as computational fluid dynamics). server farms and wind tunnels, not 20 race cars, each burning ~ 100kg of fuel on race day).
Steiner confirmed that Porsche and Formula 1 have already been in talks. “We have had conversations with Formula 1, yes. And we could give them a part, but not only now at the beginning,” he told me.