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Porsche is working on synthetic fuels with emissions equivalent to electric vehicles

Porsche aims to drive towards the development of synthetic fuels, otherwise known as eFuels.

Porsche aims to drive towards the development of synthetic fuels, otherwise known as eFuels.In an attempt to make vehicles more sustainable, Porsche has been working on synthetic fuels it calls eFuel. The company says it can make an internal-combustion engine as clean as an electric vehicle (EV).

In February 2020, Porsche released an article saying that they, Siemens Energy, and other international companies are developing and implementing a pilot project in Chile that is expected to be the world’s first integrated, commercial, and industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels (eFuel).

In a press release, Porsche said that the plant would produce around 130,000 liters of eFuel by 2022. "In two further phases, capacity will be increased to about 55 million liters of eFuel a year by 2024, and around 550 million liters of eFuel by 2026." Porsche will be the primary customer for the green fuel. Other project partners are the energy firm AME and the petroleum company ENAP, from Chile, and Italian energy company Enel.

According to an article by Evo, Porsche’s eFuel is made out of CO2 and hydrogen, which are produced using renewable energy. The engine will burn the liquid, as it would for gasoline or crude oil vehicle. But an eFuel vehicle can be produced in a climate-neutral manner, at least in theory. Speaking at the recent launch of the new 911 GT3, Porsche vice president of Motorsport and GT cars Frank Walliser said the "company will have its first small test batch, just 130,000 liters, of eFuel ready by 2022."

According to the Manager of Motorsport and GT, Micheal Steiner, "This technology is particularly important because the combustion engine will continue to dominate the automotive world for many years to come. If you want to operate the existing fleet sustainably, eFuel is a fundamental component."

An article by Car and Driver said that Porsche is not the first automaker to investigate cleaner petroleum-substitute fuels. Audi produced its first batch of e-diesel in 2015. In an interview with Autocar, Markus Schäfer (Mercedes-Benz R&D chief) said that, "e-fuel is not a viable option and that the automaker is focusing solely on electrification."

While synthetic fuels are in the primary production stage, the process requires large-scale investment for what is considered a small volume (Porsche expects to have 130,000 liters ready by 2022). Porsche said in their press release that manufacturers and suppliers haven’t given up on the internal combustion engine just yet and are continuing to invest in eFuel. The company further states that along with allowing today’s internal combustion engine cars to reduce their emissions significantly and offer a sustainable alternative for motorsport, synthetic fuels would allow older cars to remain on the road without the need for any modifications to their engines while still benefiting from the same reduction in tailpipe emissions.

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