What Are E-Fuels?
Sep 14 2020 Read 281 Times
As part of a global initiative to “drive forward the development of synthetic fuels”, luxury German auto manufacturer Porsche is actively seeking partnerships with pilot factories. The company is building on the momentum of fellow auto manufacturers Volkswagen and Bentley, who are also spearheading e-fuels as a way to reduce emissions and minimise their environmental footprints.
Michael Steiner, head of R&D at Porsche says “electric mobility is an exciting and convincing technology but, taken on its own, it is taking us towards our sustainability targets at a slower pace than we would like. That’s why we are also committing to e-fuels – and not ignoring possible applications in motorsports, either.”
“We have a team that is looking for suitable partners who want to build pilot plants with us and prove that the entire process chain works and can be industrialised,” he adds.
Manufacturing a net zero fuel
While synthetic fuels are an effective way to minimise emissions and combat climate change caused by car traffic, they’re not readily available. To address this issue, Porsche is hoping to commercialise e-fuels and transition towards climate-friendly transport.
While they offer similar performance to petrol and diesel, e-fuels are produced using renewable energy. They’re manufactured with CO2 and hydrogen, meaning the environmental impact is low. To make the fuel, renewable electricity is used to split water into CO2 and hydrogen. This is then combined with carbon dioxide captured from factories and air emissions. The result is a powerful hydrocarbon with a negligible environmental footprint. The manufacturing process produces virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, making e-fuels an exciting option for auto manufacturers looking to improve environmental credentials and hit sustainability targets.
An easy and affordable solution
While EVs require heavy investment in new technologies, Steiner says e-fuels have the capacity to improve the sustainability of existing vehicles. This will allow Porsche owners to minimise their environmental impact, without upgrading to an electric model or modifying engines. With 50% of Porsche vehicles set to be electric by 2025, the company is a pioneer of the luxury market.
“This technology is particularly important because the combustion engine will continue to dominate the automotive world for many years to come,” says Steiner. “If you want to operate the existing fleet in a sustainable manner, eFuels are a fundamental component.”
Want to know more about the EV revolution? ‘The need for dedicated lubricants following heightened demand for electric vehicles’ explores the challenges the industry will face during the transition, including the need for specialised lubricants designed for electric motors and batteries.
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