E-fuels: synthetic fuel from Porsche instead of Russian oil?
“There will be no E-Fuels pump”
“We want to show that it’s possible,” explains Hermann-Josef Stappen from Porsche. Annual production of 130,000 liters of e-fuel is planned. Whether pure, climate-neutral petrol will make it to Germany is an open question. “There will be no e-fuels pumps at gas stations in the future either,” he adds. But: The eco-gasoline is mixed with the conventional fuel.
This is what the climate protection quota requires: The law stipulates how much green fuel must be added to the petrol and diesel on offer. Since 2020 it has been seven percent. The petrol companies must therefore add climate-neutral fuels – it doesn’t matter whether they produce them themselves or buy them. This is already good business because demand is growing rapidly: the German biofuel manufacturer Verbio, which has 800 employees, tripled its sales in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Low production volumes compared to consumption
In contrast, the 130,000 liters of the Chilean pilot plant are hardly a drop. However, the output should already be increased to 55 million liters in 2024 and to 550 million liters in 2026. That would be around 1.2 percent of consumption in 2019.
“A start has been made with the pilot plant,” says Christian Küchen from the Fuels and Energy trade association. The aim must be to place Germany’s entire energy supply on a broader basis and to rely on climate-friendly energies. “We therefore expressly support the accelerated expansion of renewable energies announced by Climate Minister Habeck – including more green electricity charging stations for electric cars and, in the future, the import of green hydrogen and alternative fuels – as is now the case in Chile,” says the head of the energy association.
This is how the production of e-fuels works
Why was Chile chosen? This is due to the good local conditions: Strong, continuous winds from the direction of Antarctica blow here 270 days a year – perfect for generating energy. In addition, with an average of two inhabitants per square kilometer, the region is extremely sparsely populated and not industrialized.
Cars with petrol engines remain economical
Steiner: “With e-fuels, significant CO2– Savings possible.” And that would possibly mean a general ban on vehicles with combustion engines. “We want to show that even high-performance engines can be operated with e-fuels. And that motorsport is possible.” The next step is the production of designer fuel, which – unlike fossil raffinates – does not contain any impurities.
Chile’s south offers wind energy in abundance
Unlike the electricity for pure electric cars, the transport route for liquid e-fuels only plays a minor role. And for storage, you can use Chile’s existing gas station logistics.
Fuel prices are expected to converge by 2030
What will eco-fuel cost in the end? Two years ago, Porsche had quoted a price per liter of two to three euros – but before taxes. Stappen now wants to avoid an exact price estimate for the liter of e-fuel. There can never be an exact sales price because Porsche will not market e-fuels as an independent product, according to the Porsche employee.
However, one expects “that the process costs of climate-neutral fuel and those from fossil resources will be aligned by the end of this decade”. Classic diesel and petrol are becoming more expensive because stocks are shrinking; and the CO2-Price will continue to rise. E-fuels, on the other hand, should become cheaper if further plants based on the Haru Oni model start operating in South America, North Africa or elsewhere and enable mass production.