MAN Energy Solutions to supply methanol reactor for Chile efuels pilot

HIF’s ‘Haru Oni’ project in the Magallanes region of southern Chile is to pilot the production of green hydrogen and synthetic fuels from wind.

The project currently under development near the city of Punta Arenas is set to supply the efuels to Porsche for use in its motorsport vehicles and in the Porsche Experience Centres where users can participate in on and off-track driving experiences.

MAN Energy Solutions’ methanol reactor forms the second step in the fuel production process, producing green methanol from the green hydrogen which is produced in an electrolyser powered by wind.

The methanol reactor combines the green hydrogen with CO2 filtered from the air. The green methanol is then converted in a further step to clean gasoline.

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In the pilot phase, production is expected to start in 2022, with an output of around 130,000l of efuels. This will then be ramped up in two steps, with capacity increasing to around 55Ml of efuels per year by 2024 and to around 550Ml of efuels per year by 2026.

“Synthetic fuels are an important component on the road to a climate-neutral future. They have the potential to decarbonise all those sectors and processes where direct electrification is not possible or practical,” says Uwe Lauber, CEO at MAN Energy Solutions.

“Back in 2013, MAN commissioned what is currently Europe’s largest methanation reactor for Audi in Werlte, which has since supplied 1,500 vehicles a year with climate neutral, synthetic natural gas. We are pleased to contribute our chemical engineering expertise to this project as well.”

The Haru Oni project is being developed by Chilean efuels company HIF, a subsidiary of generation company Andes Mining and Energy, in partnership with Enel, Siemens Energy, Porsche and the national petroleum company Enap.

Porsche, which is investing an initial €20 million (US$23.5 million) in the Haru Oni project, is undertaking testing of low carbon fuels with ExxonMobil. The new efuel will be incorporated into the next iteration of its Esso Renewable Racing Fuel, currently a blend of primarily advanced biofuels obtained from food waste products.

Advantages of efuels are that they can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids, and can make use of the existing network of filling stations.