First industrial-scale e-fuels facility in production

3 January 2023

Production has begun at what is believed to be the world’s first fully integrated facility for making carbon-neutral, synthetic fuels. The Haru Oni plant, near the city of Punta Arenas in southern Chile, uses wind power to combine water and CO2 to make e-methanol and ultimately electricity-based carbon-neutral petrol (gasoline). 

Siemens Energy designed and led system integration of HIF Global’s pilot plant, in collaboration with Porsche and other partners. Start of production of the first eFuels is a key step forward in decarbonising the transportation sector, especially those segments that are difficult or impossible to electrify, like marine and aviation, or internal combustion engine automobiles that are still in use.

Siemens Energy Managing Board Member Anne-Laure de Chammard stated: "The Haru Oni project aims to demonstrate that e-fuels can be brought to market in large quantities and at competitive prices … the knowledge gained from this project will also help develop climate-friendly solutions for many other applications."

By March 2023, the plant, in Magallanes province in Chile’s southern Patagonia region, will have been be complete. Hydrogen, the basis of the fuel synthesis process, is produced in an electrolyser from Siemens Energy. The wind turbine was provided by Siemens Gamesa. The project’s big challenge was to combine the process steps for making synthetic fuels that had previously only been tested individually, and to co-ordinate them in a production chain for the first time in an efficient and trouble-free way. That integration is the basis for the ramp-up for e-fuel production. 

The system is expected to produce 130 000 litres of e-fuel per year by 2023. After the pilot phase, the first scaling will take the project to a projected 55 million litres per year by the middle of the decade. Around two years later the capacity is expected to be 550 million litres p/a.

Patagonia’s is a windy region with vast renewable energy resources – it offers as much as 6000 full-load hours of operation for generating green electricity, around three times the amount available in Europe. Wind power is stored in liquid energy carriers using the power-to-X process. The project enjoys support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action: in 2020, Haru Oni became the first hydrogen project to be funded as part of Germany’s national hydrogen strategy.

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