Porsche steers towards sustainable future with CO₂ extraction through DAC technology

Porsche, in partnership with Volkswagen Group Innovation, HIF Global, and MAN Energy Solutions, is spearheading a collective initiative to address the pressing challenges of global warming and escalating carbon emissions. Their focus is on Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, an innovative approach that not only mitigates emissions but also leverages carbon dioxide (CO₂) as a valuable raw material.

Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, underlined the importance of addressing global warming through emission reduction and CO₂ removal. Steiner remarked, “To slow global warming, it is essential to reduce emissions and remove CO₂ from the atmosphere.”

The endeavour aims to transform CO₂ into a valuable resource in various production processes while concurrently mitigating its detrimental environmental impact. The core concept revolves around transitioning industrial DAC procedures into large-scale production. As a pioneering step in this innovative journey, the project is exploring the integration of a DAC pilot plant within the eFuels facility located in Chile. This facility is affiliated with Porsche’s established eFuels partner, HIF Global. The objective is to harness renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, to efficiently power the DAC technology. The heat needed for the DAC plant could be supplied through the hydrogen generation process within the eFuels facility, ensuring a sustainable approach.

Barbara Frenkel, Executive Board Member for Procurement at Porsche, explained the versatility of CO₂ in this context, stating, “Pure CO₂ can be used for industrial processes or permanently stored in the ground. It can also be used to produce eFuels – which we are planning to do as a first step.”

eFuels, or synthetic fuels, hold significant promise in decarbonising the transport sector, especially for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that will continue to be on the roads worldwide for years to come.

Nikolai Ardey, Director of Volkswagen Group Innovation, elaborated on the significance of DAC technology and its viability. Ardey mentioned, “The Volkswagen Group identified extracting CO₂ from the atmosphere as an issue for the future back in 2019.” He added, “Our research has found that scalable and commercially competitive direct-air-capture technology is possible.”

César Norton, President and CEO of HIF Global, expressed enthusiasm for the project and its contribution to climate change mitigation. Norton said, “We are delighted to be working with Porsche to operate this technology – the future of CO₂ recycling – in the future at our plant in Chile and, in this way, make an active and timely contribution to fighting climate change.”

DAC technology involves filtering ambient air through a pebble-like filter material to capture CO₂, which is then extracted and collected in a highly purified form. This extracted CO₂ can be employed in various ways, such as in non-fossil-based plastics production or eFuels manufacturing.

Porsche’s participation in the Haru Oni eFuel pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile, is another vital component of this endeavour. The eFuel pilot plant, managed by HIF Global, produces synthetic fuels using wind energy, renewable CO₂, and hydrogen extracted from water. This aligns with Porsche’s commitment to eFuels as a means to achieve nearly carbon-neutral operation for ICE vehicles.

As the project unfolds, Porsche envisions large-scale plants near the pilot facility in Chile to increase eFuels production. The strategic location of Punta Arenas, with ample wind and proximity to the Strait of Magellan, offers ideal conditions for eFuels production and transportation using existing infrastructure.

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