Porsche backs venture that taps wind to make eFuels

Europe

Porsche has joined a group of investors making a $260 million equity bet on a startup that aims to harness wind power to make a gasoline substitute.

Porsche is investing $75 million for a 12.5 percent stake in electricity-based fuel developer HIF Global, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

HIF is building a plant in Chile to produce electricity-based synthetic fuels from hydrogen and carbon dioxide using wind energy, starting midyear.

HIF Global plans to build 12 commercial sites in Texas, Chile and Australia, representing $50 billion of investments, to produce 150,000 barrels of fuel a day using 25 gigawatts of renewables and about 25 million tons per year of carbon dioxide, HIF Global’s Executive Director Meg Gentle said in an interview.

The firm also attracted backing from funds managed by EIG Global Energy Partners, Baker Hughes and majority shareholder Andes Mining & Energy of Chile, the startup said in a separate statement.

Gentle’s family office, Gemstone Investments, also invested. Porsche executive board member Michael Steiner and EIG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Blair Thomas also joined HIF Global’s board.

Porsche has been investing in alternative fuels as a way to power models like the iconic 911 sports car in future, which the carmaker plans to continue offering as a combustion engine model.

The Volkswagen Group brand is spending more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) during the next decade on alternative energy sources like solar systems, wind turbines and e-fuels.

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