Weíve recently seen the launch the 2021 facelifted version of the Porsche Panamera with a few subtle styling tweaks and technology upgrades that enhance an already great car. Importantly, now you only have one petrol power unit, the other three are Hybrids. Just one small indication that times are changing towards a cleaner future.
The Panamera upgrades are all very good, but the most interesting part of the press release was actually about fuel. Specifically Porscheís investment and ongoing collaboration with Siemens Energy to develop and progress climate neutral synthetic or efuels. With the proposed timeline for the demise of fossil fuel transport out of sync with reality, efuels could provide a great stepping-stone for the transition from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) to electric propulsion.
What is efuel? Well in short, itís a liquid fuel made simply from water and carbon dioxide. Hydorgen produced from water via electrolysis reactivates with carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere, in a clever process to produce a liquid efuel. As long as the energy provided for this process is from a green source, like solar or wind, then itís a carbon neutral fuel. This is good news for a variety of reasons.
The migration to a cleaner future for our planet is the path we must all follow and embrace. Developing efuels that can propel planes, ships, industrial machines is a great way to reduce our current fossil fuel production. Clearly, we donít yet have the battery power density to move such heavy machinery so efuel could fill the current void nicely whilst we await innovation. Equally for personal transport, our own cars could run on efuel. Consider a petrol Hybrid running on synthetic efuel. With fewer particulates and nitrogen oxides emissions, it might just be a cleaner total package compared to an EV, (Electric Vehicle) being charged by fossil fuel energy from the grid.
The biggest problem with our change to electrification is the infrastructure required to power our transport and make it convenient over any distance. If you are considering an EV I can already tell you what your biggest concerns are. One being how and where to charge it. With efuel the network is already here, our 8385 fuel stations UK wide. Stopping to fill a tank with combustible liquid is second nature, without the need to know your CHAdeMO from your CCS. In addition, like fossil fuel it can be stored over long periods of time and transported easily.
However, the real benefit, certainly for the car lovers like me, is the fact that we still have hope that our beloved combustion powered beauties will have a place in society. The classic and future classics we own, love and drive now will still be possible without harming our precious world. Putting this into some sort of perspective, if we adopt our daily transport as a zero emissions vehicle charged through sustainable power, then this allows efueled recreational vehicles to be enjoyed with a clear conscience. Think of the events that could still continue in the same spirit. Goodwood with arguably some one of the best racing in the UK at Revival and Members Meetings. The Festival of Speed, the annual celebration of motor transport, we will still be able to get up close and hear those racecars and specials blast up the hill. Not to mention track days, for many of us the ability to try your skill and exercise our endangered 3 pedal machines on dedicated tarmac is a joyous hobby. Motorsport, in all its forms using efuel power could continue with the same excitement. If youíre a fan of eRacing then great but itís just not the same without that sound. Think F1 V10ís and Group B rally cars.
There are many exciting projects and companies that make efuel. Norsk e-fuel being one of them, check out what they do and their upscaling plans for the future. There is even a European e-fuel conference in November this year in Hamburg, Germany. Itís a fast growing business with big companies like Siemens and VW Group investing in synthetic fuels. They know we will need it for the transition. Efuel could preserve our precious oil burning machines and save them from extinction. Ironic really as the death and extinction of plants and animals made the fuel for internal combustion engines and the motor car possible.
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