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If Synthetic Fuel Is Clean As Electric Isn’t That A Simpler Solution?

The internal combustion engine has been in service in one form or another for well over 100 years. Anyway, for something so entrenched in our daily lives many are having a hard time with the electrification zeitgeist happening before our eyes. Now Porsche is putting huge amounts of capital behind developing synthetic fuel which it says burns clean. Like zero emissions. So, if synthetic fuel is that clean isn’t that a simpler, easier conversion to make than EVs?

It seems like everything is powered by gas engines

It seems like everything is powered by gas engines from toasters to washing machines. Actually, toasters have never been, but washing machines once were. Anyway, it is hard to imagine that EVs are going to be the major source of transportation in 10 years when it is only 3% at the moment. 

A woman refueling a car on Circle K petrol station | Getty

But if your car is new, 10, or 50 years old, Porsche says it can burn synthetic fuel or eFuel, without any modifications. And in doing so it will be as clean as an EV. Actually, cleaner, when you consider that 20% of electric plants still run on coal. That’s down from almost 40% in 2014, but still, it’s dirty electricity. 

Porsche is developing a synthetic fuel with the same carbon output as an EV

Porsche’s Motorsports Vice President Dr. Frank Walliser says it is developing an eFuel with the same carbon output as an EV. And no conversion would be necessary. Any internal combustion engine could run on the stuff. 

“Synthetic fuels are very important to allow us to reduce our CO2 output,” he told Evo. “Emissions are way better than current pump fuel, with fewer particulates and less NOx produced. Synthetic fuels have between eight to ten components whereas petrol today has 30-40 and not all of them are welcome.

Car fuel
Car fuel | Getty

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“Synthetic fuel is cleaner and there is no bi-product. When we start full production we expect a CO2 reduction of 85 percent. From a ‘well to wheel’ perspective – and you have to consider the well to wheel impact of all vehicles – this will be the same level of CO2 produced in the manufacture and use of an electric vehicle.”

We know global warming is changing our environment

All car enthusiasts get it. We know that global warming is changing our environment. Even the recent cold weather in Texas is a result of the changing dynamics of global warming. And we all want to do our part. But if eFuel allows gas engines to burn clean then there is no CO2 contribution and thus, no guilt. And also, no reason to go electric. It seems a heck of a lot easier, and cheaper, to pay more at the pump for synthetic fuel and keep whatever we drive today. And it allows those of us with vintage machinery to continue enjoying our hobbies and racing pursuits. 

We don’t know when eFuel will become available to the masses. But if it could get into general circulation by, say 2030, then it could change the anti-carbon laws forcing the banning of ICE vehicles slated for some countries and states.