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Besides EVs, Porsche sees business opportunities in the synthetic fuel sector

As it continues to launch new electric models, Porsche is continuing to invest in synthetic fuels for internal combustion vehicles.

On Wednesday, the automaker announced a $75 million investment in HIF Global LLC, a parent company for projects to develop synthetic fuel production facilities. The investment gives Porsche a “long-term stake” in HIF, the automaker said in a press release.

One of the projects in which Chile-based HIF is involved is the Porsche-backed Haru Oni ​​pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile. The plant is expected to start synthetic fuel production in mid-2022, according to Porsche.

Construction of Haru Oni ​​. synthetic fuel test plant

Construction of Haru Oni ​​. synthetic fuel test plant

The automaker said the additional capital Porsche is investing will be used to develop additional facilities in Chile, the United States and Australia. Initially, Porsche planned to use synthetic fuels produced at these facilities in racing cars. In the future, Porsche says it could use the fuel in cars on the road at the factory and at Porsche Experience Centers, which provide customers with off-road driving.

Porsche claims that synthetic fuels will significantly reduce carbon emissions. Haru Oni’s process involves generating fuel from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) using wind power, which Porsche claims will “allow for near-CO2-neutral operation of the combustion engine.”

Porsche has previously stated that with an estimated 85% reduction in CO2 emissions for synthetic fuels made with renewables, from a “well to wheel” point of view, it will further increase lower emissions from an EVonce production is put in place.

Image showing the Porsche-backed Haru Oni ​​synthetic fuel test plant.

Image showing the Porsche-backed Haru Oni ​​synthetic fuel test plant.

The promise of an ultra-low-emission fuel that can keep internal combustion cars running on the road has also attracted the interest of other automakers. BMW car invested in synthetic fuels startup Prometheus Fuels, while McLaren COO Jens Ludmann said in 2020 that the automaker will build an experimental vehicle using synthetic fuels.

But policy papers from several environmental organizations disagree. Transport & Environment has gone further in calling these fuels “an illusion. “Based on the available data, unless you take into account essentials like carbon capture, it’s hard to come up with a cohesive argument to see how such fuels can keep internal combustion engines running.

But for now, with the full electrification of some modes like most passenger air travel still decades away, synthetic fuels can still be commercially successful. finance in that industry — and to fuel vintage cars.

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