We all love Internal combustion Engine cars. The sound of ICE cars is awesome, but sadly all around the world people are talking about switching to electric cars, and stopping the production of new ICE cars. But Porsche is working on synthetic fuel or also called e-Fuel, which could save these Dianousour of cars that make sweet sounds. Let’s understand what is Porsche synthetic fuel (e-Fuel) and whether is it a clean fuel. And would we use what we emit?
What is Porsche e-Fuel?
It is a fuel that is not created by fossil fuels, but instead, it is created by Capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and mixing it with the Hydrogen extracted from the water. After this process, it creates Methanol, which is then converted to Normal Petrol. All of these processes use electrolysis which requires electricity. But that doesn’t mean it is cleaner fuel right? Yes, there are factors that you need to make right to make this fuel a clean fuel. Let’s first see what is a clean fuel.
What is clean fuel?
A clean fuel is something which does not emit anything into the atmosphere. But current fuel technology does not achieve that completely. Let’s see current fuel technology
Current Petrol fuel
A current petrol car emits CO2, Nitrogen, and Carbon Monoxide. But thanks to the catalytic converter, cars convert Nitrogen and Carbon monoxide into normal gases. But CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. A car emits 50 tons of CO2 in its lifetime, and the amount of CO2 which we are realising in the atmosphere is the problem.
There comes the Electric cars, which do not emit while you drive, but emit 14 – 21 tons of CO2 during the manufacturing of batteries and lithium & Cobalt extraction. It also emits 20 tons of CO2 when you charge because most of us get our electricity from fossil fuels.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Then comes the Hydrogen Fuel cell, which is a clean fuel only if we extract hydrogen from a green source. We extract hydrogen using electrolysis, which is not currently done using a clean source of electricity. Again we get the electricity from fossil fuels. But there is scope if we start using renewable energy for our electricity.
Now comes Porsche e-Fuel which captures the existing CO2 from the atmosphere, which is good and this means, we are using what we are emitting, that’s good. Now let’s see where the hydrogen comes from. Hydrogen is extracted from water using electrolysis, Okay, but is this process of electrolysis done through a renewable source of electricity? According to Porsche yes it uses wind energy to do electrolysis. and it is located in Chile because there they get 270 days a year of wind, which helps them create electricity using Wind energy. They also say as we are using Hydrogen and Carbon not hydrocarbons from crude oil, the combustion is cleaner than regular petrol.
Also if this e-fuel is successful we would reduce the amount of waste the old cars would make, when everyone goes to buy Electric or hydrogen cars. Perhaps it is the biggest positive for this fuel, we do not need any new engine technology to use it.
But does this makes it clean, I guess not completely. Because we still have a few challenges.
Challenges for Porsche e-fuel
First, it is expensive, as it is a new technology. and currently, it is under experimentation. It is also not the first time someone has tried to do it, Methanol based fuel is being around for a while now. But not become successful. Because it is expensive.
Another challenge is Porsche is just doing it in one location. Because this process of e-fuel requires a lot of electricity and renewable energy electricity is not available everywhere.
As currently, we do not have a lot of renewable energy everywhere we cannot produce e-fuel everywhere. And this means we have to transport them to a different location and that is not clean.
So will this Porsche e-fuel be successful, not exactly, we need renewable energy electricity at a large scale, and we need to capture CO2 efficiently so that we can use more than what we emit. Until then this synthetic fuel can be used for the limited application, like racing, and other motorsports. But it is good news for us ICE lovers.