Two weeks back, we wrote an article talking about the future of the Porsche 911. Long story short, Porsche was planning on making its 911 lineup run solely on synthetic fuels by 2024 which is not a bad thing at all. They would still use internal combustion engines, just with a synthetic fuel instead of gasoline. Now when automakers says some lofty goal like this, it’s usually best to take it with a grain of salt. But as it turns out, Porsche is a lot more invested in this than I thought.
First, let’s get something straight, Porsche is NOT going to stop building electric cars. The Taycan is smashing sales expectations and electric cars in general will continue to take over their gas powered counterparts. There’s no stopping that. However, there is a way to make sure we keep the internal combustion engine alive for classics, and niche products like sports cars; like Porsches.
Porsche has announced a plan to work with an Simens Energy to develop a first of its kind, industrial scale synthetic fuel factory. What makes synthetic fuel a viable option for future cars is that unlike gasoline, it’s carbon neutral. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide used to make the fuel is equivalent to the CO2 released into the air by burning it, pretty cool isn’t it?
The process of making this synthetic “e-fuel as Porsche calls it is rather interesting. Wind power is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms (a process called water electrolysis) and combining the acquired hydrogen with carbon dioxide that’s been filtered out of the atmosphere. This mixture of hydrogen and carbon creates a synthetic methanol which is then converted into synthetic gasoline through a chemical process licensed by Exxon.
Porsche and Simens Energy’s plan involves just one factory in southern Chile but if it succeeds, I see no reason why this wouldn’t expand. The factory is said to produce 130,000 liters of fuel as part of a pilot phase by 2022 with roughly 55 million liters being produced by 2024 and ten times that in 2026. Porsche has so far invested 20 million Euros into this project.
If this does succeed, it’s very likely that cars like the Porsche 911 will never need to go fully electric since this new fuel is carbon neutral. This can also help automakers struggling to comply with increasingly strict emission regulations set by governments all over the world.