Audi Produces Revolutionary New Fuel
Audi E-Diesel is a revolutionary new fuel that has “virtually no impact on the climate”, its manufacturer claims. Audi says that this liquefied synthetic product – that incorporates water and CO2 - “could make a significant contribution to climate protection”.
How E-Diesel Is Produced
E-Diesel is produced at a plant in Dresden, Germany. The necessary power comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Production starts by heating water until it forms steam, then any hydrogen and oxygen are separated via electrolysis. The concoction hits a temperature in excess of 800 degrees Celsius. The oxygen is later released into the atmosphere and hydrogen fed to a reactor.
The hydrogen is then mixed with CO2 sourced from a biogas facility and the ambient air. The latter is possible thanks to technology supplied by Audi’s Zurich-based partner, Climeworks. The output is a liquid called Blue Crude that can be refined into E-Diesel. The manufacturer claims the finished product is “free from sulphur and aromatic hydrocarbons” and “readily ignitable”. Audi argues it is “suitable for admixing with fossil diesel or, prospectively, for use as a fuel in its own right.”
Opportunity For Motor Industry And Wider World
Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at Audi, said: “In developing Audi E-Diesel, we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance mobility with virtually
no impact on the climate. Using CO2 as a raw material represents an opportunity not just for the automotive industry in Germany, but also to transfer the principle to other sectors and countries.”
Factory To Produce 3,000 Litres
Construction of the facility in Dresden started in July 2013 and the plant was commissioned in November 2014. It is operated by Audi's partner, technology firm Sunfire. The plant is likely to produce more than 3,000 litres of E-Diesel over the next few months. An early sample has been used by Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr Johanna Wanka, in an Audi A8 Saloon.
Audi Has Ambitions Beyond E-Diesel
Audi has fuel-based ambitions beyond E-Diesel. A plant in Lower Saxony, for example, produces Audi E-Gas (synthetic methane) for the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron which is available in markets that have a suitable fuelling infrastructure. The company is also conducting joint research into the synthetic manufacture of Audi E-Gasoline with Global Bioenergies, a company based in France.