Chilean energy company HIF Global is an innovative producer of synthetic fuels. According to them the company received a $260 million equity fund, of which Porsche invested $75 million, giving the German car maker a 12.5% stake. The funds will be used to expand HIF Global’s decarbonized fuels business and develop carbon-neutral eFuels projects in the U.S., Chile and Australia, providing renewable fuels for ships, cars, trucks and aircrafts.
eFuels are carbon-neutral fuels synthesized from renewable electricity, water and carbon dioxide from the air. First, water must be electrolyzed with renewable/carbon-neutral energy to produce “green” hydrogen, and then a catalyst is used to combine hydrogen with carbon dioxide under high pressure. The process converts renewable electricity into synthetic fuels that are easy to store and transport while also having the same chemical properties as fossil fuels, meaning they can be used in existing engines and infrastructure as a direct replacement for fossil fuels.
Since HIF Global was founded in Chile in 2016, the company has gradually become a leader in eFuels by exploring how to harness wind energy resources to produce carbon-neutral fuels.
Ultimately, HIF could capture more than 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, produce about 150,000 barrels of eFuels per day, and make more than 5 million cars carbon-neutral.
Porsche has invested heavily in the research and development of electric vehicle technology. The Taycan electric sports car will deliver 41,296 units in 2021, more than doubling year on year. It accounts for 13.7% of total sales, surpassing even the iconic 911 sports car. Porsche is aiming for 80% of vehicles sold being all-electric by 2030, but until then the company still has a large number of traditional gasoline vehicles in use, and electrification will do little to help owners of gasoline vehicles.
Exploring how these vehicles can use conventional fuels to reduce emissions is one of the priorities of Porsche’s sustainability strategy. eFuels can be used directly as a replacement for fossil fuels, allowing 911 owners to become carbon-neutral.
Porsche R&D board member Michael Steiner said Porsche is researching the use of renewable fuels and has been successful in tests in the lab and on the race track. In the future, eFuels will be used directly to fuel internal combustion engine vehicles. Porsche will take a pioneering role in eFuels to promote this technology as an integral part of its overall sustainability strategy.
Following the success of its pilot plant at Magellan in Chile, HIF expects to begin construction of its first commercial-scale eFuels plant in the United States in 2023 and build similar plants in Chile and Australia in 2024.