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"We want the classic cars to be on the road" - Aussie eFuel to keep piston Porsches firing!

Mark Webber raced a 1964 2.0-litre Porsche 911 powered by sustainable fuel at this year's Goodwood Revival(Image:Jordan Butters)

When HIF Global, Porsche’s partner in the production of synthetic fuel, announced its intention to establish a large-scale production facility near Burnie in north-west Tasmania, it represented a significant step in the company’s plan to produce over eight billion litres of ‘eFuel’ per year.

And in the 15 months since, the project (which HIF calls a ‘decarbonisation hub’) has been under evaluation by the Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority with construction scheduled to kick off in 2024. Once completed, the new plant will join other HIF eFuel facilities in Punta Arenas, Chile (opened in late 2022) and Southern Texas in the United States (scheduled for construction in 2024).

Electricity based ‘eFuel’ is produced from renewable energy, green hydrogen and carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere. It has the same chemical properties as fossil-based fuel and can be used as a direct substitute in existing engines and infrastructure.  

While this type of synthetic fuel releases CO2 into the atmosphere when used in an engine, the idea is those emissions equal the amount taken out of the atmosphere in the fuel’s production, making it net CO2 neutral.

Porsche global CEO, Oliver Blume said: “The value chain of our vehicles is planned to be CO2 neutral, on balance, in 2030.” 

And speaking recently at the local launch of the 911 GT3 RS, Porsche Cars Australia CEO and Managing Director, Daniel Schmollinger touched on the importance of synthetic fuel in achieving that ambition and the significance of the Tasmanian plant, specifically.

“EFuels will be very important for us because, especially in our classic area, we want the classic cars to be on the road. 

“I can’t tell the number off the top of my head, but there’s a number of 60 to 70 per cent of all Porsches ever sold are still on the road, and of course classic is a part of our overall strategy.

“So, with eFuels, we absolutely hope and plan to keep these cars running. We run the (Porsche) Supercup in Europe on eFuels already, so we are doing a lot of testing on how eFuel supports high-end engines.

HIF stands for ‘Highly Innovative Fuels.

“We are absolutely thrilled and proud that our partner is planning a plant in Tasmania. We can’t wait that its opening or starting to produce. But this is still a little bit ahead in the future,” he said.

At the same time, former F1 ace, World Endurance sports car champion and Porsche ambassador, Mark Webber (also on hand at the launch event), was able to give some first-hand feedback on the performance of eFuel in competition.

“I raced at the Goodwood Revival this year in a ‘64 2.0-litre 911 with sustainable fuel. We had them in the old cars, yeah. For us, it’s very important. We put a lot of effort into it,” he said.

The revival’s Fordwater Trophy is a one-make event for Porsche 911s that in 2023 saw 30 original racing 911s battle in close company around the challenging Goodwood Motor Circuit layout.

Webber also touched on the growing demand for ‘Porsche Track Experience’ events, with enthusiastic owners of combustion engine cars stepping through a series of circuit-based coaching sessions to improve their driving and better understand the capability of their cars.

“Spa, Portugal… mate, I’m doing so many of the days. It’s unbelievable how many people are coming now to drive these cars. The demand is huge,” he said.

“We have 30 garages at some of these tracks and these guys have got a car each. So, it’s like, we haven’t got enough garages. 

“And the scale over there is mind blowing. We’ve got that many people turning up to experience the cars.

“Customers wanting to get closer to the product, understand more about it, get into the data. Pretty cool.”

James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands....
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