Currently reading: Porsche invests £57 million in synthetic fuel maker HIF Global
Manufacturer acquires 12.5% stake in the company building the Haru Oni e-fuels plant in Chile

Porsche has taken a significant step towards its goal of commercialising synthetic fuels with the acquisition of a stake in multinational e-fuels maker HIF Global.

The deal, worth some $75 million (£57.2m), has Porsche take a 12.5% share in HIF, which is leading construction of the Haru Oni eFuels plant in Punta Arenas, Chile, which will produce synthetic fuel for use in ICE Porsche cars from mid-2022.

The German manufacturer is one of several large companies investing in HIF, alongside Chile-based Andes Mining and Energy (which remains the majority shareholder) and American firms EIG, Baker Hughes and Gemstone Investments.

The amount raised in this funding round is said to total more than $100m (£76.31m).

The investment will go towards completing the Haru One project in Punta Arenas, as well as new sites in the US and Australia, "which have large supplies of renewable energy".

A key component of the Haru Oni project is using wind energy to create hydrogen and CO2-based synthetic fuels, which allow for "nearly CO2-neutral" use of internal combustion engines.

This investment is the latest in a succession of firm commitments from Porsche in the future of its ICE cars.

It cites the Porsche 911 sports car as a key beneficiary of the technology and has repeatedly said that will be the last model in its portfolio to go electric.

However, Porsche also highlights the commercial transportation sector as an area where synthetic fuels could facilitate the ongoing use of existing fossil-fuelled vehicles. 

Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner said: "Synthetic fuels offer attractive prospects across transportation sectors, from the automotive industry to the aviation and shipping sectors. 

"In addition, e-methanol is an important raw material for other applications, such as in the chemical industry, where it can replace raw materials of fossil origin. E-methanol is an intermediate product that's produced during the generation of e-fuel."

Porsche's own plans for the e-fuel centre on using it to move completed cars off its production lines, fuel cars at its track-based experience centres and for certain motorsport applications, including the Porsche Supercup. 

Importantly, as confirmed to Autocar by Steiner, Porsche isn't developing any new engines specifically with a view to running them on synthetic fuel.

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He said that "while you maybe gain some percent in terms of efficiency" by using a specially designed engine with e-fuels, adapting the fuel for a bespoke hardware would mean it couldn't be used with existing engines. 

"We need to move fast," Steiner said. "It's better to stick with the existing grade of fuel we have at the pumps today." 

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