Synthetic fuel is again in the news with Porsche announced its plan to produce it by 2022. What actually caught the attention is the brand’s claim that the fuel will be completely CO2-neutral in nature. So, what’s synthetic fuels is, how it’s made, and why it makes more sense today than ever. To make the record straight, synthetic fuel is different from ethanol. Ethanol is made through the fermentation process and has a corrosive effect on the engine. Synthetic fuel, on the other hand, is completely safe and doesn’t cause any rusting of the engine components.
Porsche will use “gas to liquids” technology to produce synthetic fuel. In this technology CO2 and hydrogen combines to form methanol. The methanol then undergoes a series of processes and finally results in a synthetic hydrocarbon which can be either synthetic petrol or synthetic diesel. The use of hydrogen aligns with the global movement of using sustainable energy that is produced through renewable means such as using solar and wind energy among others. When the gas is produced through electrolysis by using sustainable electricity, it has almost zero carbon footprints. In producing synthetic fuels, the hydrogen will be combined with CO2 that has been extracted from the atmosphere. In that manner, the production will become a means for reducing the environmental CO2which will come across as an added advantage.
The amount of CO2 emitted by vehicles using synthetic fuels will be equivalent to the CO2 extracted from the environment to make these synthetic fuels. This means these fuels will be carbon neutral in their net impact and won’t harm the environment. The best part is that whether new or old, all engines will be compatible with synthetic fuels and won’t require any modification for using them. What’s more, the fuel infrastructure in terms of existing petrol pumps, tankers, forecourts, etc., all are compatible with the new fuel technology. The process of manufacturing synthetic fuels is costly but its cost of production is expected to come down as and when the economies of scale kick in. In sum, synthetic fuel is getting readying to make its big mark and we couldn’t be happier as it leads to a win-win scenario for one and all.