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Porsche synthetic E-Fuel gas is just as clean as an EV, exec says

Seriously, synthetic fuel could be a game changer if Porsche's early projections pan out.

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If Porsche has its way, your classic 911 may be sucking down sustainably produced synthetic gas before you know it.

Porsche

It's pretty clear: Electric cars are the automotive industry's darling, and that likely won't change bar some incredible technological advance. Porsche's aboard the EV train, too, but the German sports car and luxury marque actually has its hands in an incredibly cooler project, at least if you ask me: synthetic fuel. According to remarks by Frank Walliser, vice president of Porsche motorsport and GT cars, this fuel will make a traditional car just as emissions-free as an EV. A bold statement, no doubt.

Evo reported last Wednesday on Walliser's comments made during the new 911 GT3's debut on the E-Fuel, when the executive explained how they're calculating associated emissions with the fuel. We like to think EVs are entirely guilt-free, but the real story is, there are emissions attached to electric cars long before they hit the road.

"Synthetic fuel is cleaner and there is no byproduct and when we start full production we expect a CO2 reduction of 85 percent," Walliser said. He added it's important to consider the "wheel-to-well" emissions measurement when talking about EVs or E-Fuel and said, "This will be the same level of CO2 produced in the manufacture and use of an electric vehicle."

As for how it works, a plant in southern Chile will implement a proprietary methanol-to-gasoline process provided under license by Exxon Mobil. Electrolyzers will split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and CO2 will be filtered out of the air and processed with the hydrogen to create synthetic methanol. Then the secretive methanol-to-gasoline work comes into play. Porsche's initial bet on the carbon-neutral gasoline involved a $24 million investment. 

Porsche first announced its partnership with Siemens Energy this past December to begin production of the synthetic fuel. The company says its creation works in everything from the latest-generation Porsche 911 GT3 to a classic 911 from decades ago. Although the company doesn't see this as a replacement for battery-electric cars (at least not yet), Porsche said in December, and reiterated to Roadshow today in a statement, this E-Fuel can be a very handy complement to the industry's work in electrification. "Electric mobility continues to be the highest priority at Porsche," a spokesperson said. "E-Fuels are a complement to electrification at Porsche, not a rival."

In 2022, Porsche will begin trials of the fuel with some 34,000 gallons of the E-Fuel created. We could see 145 million gallons made by 2026, if all goes according to plan.