Cayman runs on cooking oil

Riley Riley

The new hero of the Porsche Cayman range is the GT4 RS.

It’s described as an uncompromising driver’s car, designed to impress with its lightweight construction, extremely agile chassis set-up, sophisticated aerodynamics and unique soundtrack.

Compared to the 718 Cayman GT4, the RS has an extra 59kW of power, while maximum torque is up from 430 to 450Nm.

The naturally aspirated flat-six engine, familiar from the 911 GT3 Cup and 911 GT3 series production model, revs all the way to 9000 rpm.

Impressive, but it’s not just the performance of the Cayman GT4 RS that is attracting attention.

It’s the fact that it is able to do all this on synthetic fuels, more specifically renewable, petrol based on an advanced biofuel made of food waste products.

The fuel has previously demonstrated its suitability for use in high-performance Porsche engines in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, where it was used in all the teams’ 911 GT3 Cup cars for every race of the 2021 season.

Porsche Board Member for Research and Development Michael Steiner explains that because of the huge number of vehicles on the roads – some 1.3 billion world-wide according to the latest figures – the transition to electric mobility is just not happening quickly enough.

“In addition, different regions of the world are adopting electric mobility at varying speeds, meaning vehicles with combustion engines will remain on the road for decades to come,” he said.

With fuels produced in a virtually CO₂-neutral manner, existing vehicles could make their own contribution to rapid CO₂ reduction.

To actively drive this development forward, construction of the first factory initiated by Porsche for the production of eFuels kicked off just a few weeks ago.

So-called eFuels are produced using electricity generated by wind power.

Water is broken down into its components, hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2), via electrolysis.

The hydrogen is then processed with CO₂ extracted from the air to produce e-methanol.

In the next step, known as methanol-to-gasoline synthesis, it is turned into a synthetic raw gasoline, which in turn is processed into a standard-compliant gasoline fuel that can be used in all gasoline engines.

The Haru Oni joint project, involving Porsche, Siemens Energy and various other international partners, is the world’s first integrated, large-scale commercial plant to manufacture these synthetic, almost carbon-neutral fuels.

Located in the Magallanes Province of southern Chile, the plant takes advantage of the region’s ideal conditions for generating wind energy, which will be used as a sustainable source of electricity to produce synthetic petrol.

From 2022, the pilot plant is expected to produce some 130,000 litres of eFuels per year.

Porsche will purchase this volume in full and will initially use the renewable synthetic fuel primarily in its motorsport activities.

In the future, however, Porsche plans to use the eFuels in its own models with combustion engines, including classic cars.

Rally legend Walter Röhrl said a solution for the sustainable operation of existing fleets is urgently needed.

“This goal can be achieved with green fuels, which are a sensible complement to electric vehicles,” he said.

“It’s a great hope of mine that in the future I will be able to drive old cars without a bad conscience because I am running them on eFuels.

“Fuelling a 50-year-old car with eFuels – that’s pure sustainability.”


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