The HIF synthetic fuel plant near Punta Arenas in Chile. (credit: Porsche)
This week, a Chilean startup called Highly Innovative Fuels officially opened its first synthetic gasoline production facility. HIF was created to run the new plant, which is the result of a
collaboration between the automaker Porsche
, Siemens Energy, Exxon Mobil, Enel Green Power, the Chilean state energy company ENAP, and Empresas Gasco. Initially, the site will produce around 34,000 gallons (130,000 L) a year, scaling up to 14.5 million gallons (55 million L) a year by 2024, with plans to increase that tenfold to 145 million gallons (550 million L) a year by 2026. The first gasoline produced by the plant was used to ceremonially fill a Porsche 911, a task performed by Chile's energy minister, Diego Pardow.
"Yesterday, we celebrated together with all the employees from HIF and our partners, this historic moment," said Barbara Frenkel, Porsche's board member for procurement. "It was a very special evening, because we are encountering something which is of course, very important to us for our sustainability strategy, but also as we see big potential in efuels for the decarbonisation of the Earth's climate. So, the synthetic fuel we are producing here, stemming from wind energy, water and CO
is really a compelling idea," she said.
The site, located in Punta Arenas in Southern Chile, will use wind to power the process—the area sees high winds roughly 270 days a year, and a wind turbine can expect to produce up to four times as much energy as one in Europe, according to Frenkel.