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Porsche is investing 24 million US dollars in "e-fuels" to enrich the electrification of sports activities vehicles

A Porsche 911 Speedster will be presented at the Paris Motor Show on October 4, 2018 in Paris.

Christophe Archambault | AFP | Getty Images

The German car manufacturer Porsche is investing around 24 million US dollars in the development of "e-fuels", which, according to official information, are a climate-neutral fuel to replace gasoline in non-electric vehicles.

Producing such a fuel would allow the company, and possibly other automakers, to continue producing vehicles like Porsche's iconic 911 sports car with a traditional engine alongside or in place of a new electric model. While electric vehicles can provide excellent performance, the vehicle's driving dynamics are different from traditional engines.

"We want and love cars like the 911 with high-speed internal combustion engines or turbo engines as cars that you could drive in the future without the burden of a CO2 footprint, an unnecessary CO2 footprint," says Michael Steiner, Research Director at Porsche and Development. said Wednesday during a virtual media event.

According to official information, e-fuels can act like gasoline and enable owners of current and classic vehicles to drive more environmentally friendly. It could also use the same fuel infrastructure as current fuels instead of investing billions in new infrastructures for electric vehicles.

The announcement doesn't change Porsche's goal of electrifying half of the Porsche models sold by 2025, including all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, announced the investment in partnership with Siemens' renewable energy division and other international companies such as energy company AME and oil company ENAP from Chile. This includes the development and implementation of a plant in Chile, from which the "world's first integrated plant on a commercial scale on an industrial scale" for the production of synthetic climate-neutral fuels, also known as e-fuels, is expected to emerge.

The pilot project is expected to start producing e-fuel in the plant as early as 2022. Porsche is expected to be the main customer for the environmentally friendly fuel, starting with its use in vehicles for motorsport and its driving experience centers.

The facility and process are powered by renewable wind energy, one reason Chile was selected for the facility along with "excellent climatic conditions".

E-fuels are produced from water, hydrogen and carbon dioxide using a complex process. The CO2 is filtered from the air and combined with hydrogen from the water to create synthetic methanol. The result is "renewable methanol," which the companies claim can be converted to gasoline using an MTG (methanol to gasoline) technology licensed and supported by Exxon Mobil.

The only emissions from the vehicles would be carbon, which was originally drawn from the air to make the synthetic fuel. The vehicles would still have to use oil to lubricate the engine.

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