Porsche and Siemens build e-fuel production plant in Chile

  Fuels, NEWS & INTERVIEWS, Sustainable Mobility, Technical innovation

The two companies are focusing on ecological synthetic fuels. The South American country aims to become a leading exporter of green hydrogen

Porsche and Siemens Energy are focusing on the e-fuel revolution – ecological synthetic fuels produced by storing electricity from renewable sources. The two companies have decided, together with several other international companies, to build industrial plant to produce synthetic fuel in Punta Arenas, Chile. This is the first integrated commercial plant in the world producing e-fuels. The inauguration ceremony for this pioneering project took place on 10 September and production is expected to start in mid-2022.

The experimental plant, set up in Chilean Patagonia, is expected to produce about 130,000 litres of e-fuel next year. Capacity will then be expanded in two stages: approximately 55 million litres by 2024 and approximately 550 million litres by 2026. The necessary environmental permits have been obtained through Chilean company Highly Innovative Fuels (Hif). Furthermore, Siemens Energy has already begun preparatory work for the next major commercial stage of the project.
The project (named Haru Oni) harnesses low-cost wind energy – thanks to the region’s ideal climatic conditions – to produce the fuel with virtually zero carbon emissions. In addition to Siemens Energy, Porsche and Hif, other groups such as Enel, ExxonMobil, Gasco and Enap are also involved.

Inasmuch, Chile has set itself, within the scope of its national green hydrogen strategy, the goal of producing the cheapest hydrogen in the world and turning the country into a leading exporter of green hydrogen and its derivatives.

Siemens Energy CEO for New Energy Business, Armin Schnettler, defined the project an international beacon for the hydrogen economy, highlighting the launch of their Power-to-X technology on the global market. “In southern Chile,” Schnettler went on, “we are implementing out one of the most exciting projects in the energy industry for the future, thereby promoting decarbonisation of the mobility sector.”

Porsche will use e-fuel in its internal combustion engine vehicles. Michael Steiner, member of Porsche’s Research and Development Executive Committee, said the car-maker aims to become carbon neutral as early as 2030, highlighting that e-fuel will reduce fossil carbon emissions in internal combustion engines by up to 90%. “Among other things,” Steiner added, “we will use the first fuel from Chile in our racing car – the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as of 2022.”

Synthetic fuels seek to make motor racing and thermal engines more sustainable and in 2023 they will also make their debut in Formula One, when Power Units will be powered by 100% sustainable blends. TotalEnergies is also moving in the same direction, producing a 100% synthetic and renewable fuel, which will be used in the World Endurance Championship and – in particular – the Le Mans 24 Hours event.