Porsche, Siemens join world-first project to produce efuel in Chile

21st January 2022 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

German sports-car manufacturer Porsche and Siemens Energy have joined forces with a number of international companies to build an industrial plant for the production of nearly carbon-dioxide-neutral fuel (efuel) in Punta Arenas, Chile.

A pilot plant is initially being built north of Punta Arenas, in Chilean Patagonia, which is expected to produce about 130 000 ℓ of efuels this year.

The capacity will then be expanded in two stages to about 55-million litres by 2024, and about 550-million litres by 2026.

The necessary environmental permits have been obtained by Chilean project company Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF).

Siemens Energy has already started preparatory work for the next major commercial phase of the project.

“I’m pleased that we’re making progress on this international lighthouse project for the hydrogen economy, together with strong international partners from business and politics,” says Siemens Energy new energy business executive VP Armin Schnettler.

“With Haru Oni, we’re bringing our power-to-X technologies to the global market. We’re jointly developing and realising the world’s first integrated and commercial large-scale plant for producing synthetic, climate-neutral fuels.

“In southern Chile, we’re implementing one of the energy industry’s most exciting projects for the future and driving forward the decarbonisation of the mobility sector.

“It means we’re making an important and rapidly effective contribution to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the traffic and transport sector.”

Porsche initiated the demonstration project and will be using the efuels in its own combustion engine vehicles.

“Porsche was founded with a pioneering spirit,” says Porsche research and development executive board member Michael Steiner. “That’s what drives us; we thrive on innovation.

“We also see ourselves as pioneers when it comes to renewable fuels, and we want to drive development forward.

“This fits in with our clear overall sustainability strategy. It means that Porsche as a whole can be net CO2-neutral as early as 2030.

“Fuels produced with renewable energy can make a contribution to this,” explains Steiner.

“Our tests with renewable fuels are going very successfully.

“eFuels will make it possible to reduce fossil CO2 emissions in combustion engines by up to 90%. Among other things, we’ll be using the first fuel from Chile in our Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race cars from 2022.”

Chile has set itself ambitious targets as part of its National Green Hydrogen Strategy.

It plans an electrolyser capacity of 5 GW by 2025, rising to 25 GW by 2030.

The aim is to produce the world’s cheapest hydrogen and develop the country into a leading exporter of green hydrogen and its derivatives.

The Haru Oni project takes advantage of the perfect climatic conditions for wind energy in Magallanes province, in southern Chile, to produce the virtually CO2-neutral fuel using low-cost green wind power.

In the first step, electrolysers split water into oxygen and green hydrogen using wind power.

CO2 is then filtered from the air and combined with the green hydrogen to produce synthetic methanol, which, in turn, is converted into efuel.

The pilot plant is scheduled to start production in mid-2022.

In addition to Siemens Energy, Porsche and HIF, Enel, ExxonMobil, Gasco and ENAP are participating in the Haru Oni project.