Audi has taken another big step in the development of new, CO2 neutral fuels: A pilot plant in Dresden has started production of the synthetic fuel Audi e diesel.

Audi Makes Diesel Fuel from Global Warming

This is diesel fuel. It wasn’t grown in a giant petrochemical plant.  It was made like a small batch bourbon, but in an laboratory owned by Audi partner Dresden energy technology corporation sunfire.

It is made of water and carbon dioxide.  If that escapes you, carbon dioxide is the primary ingredient in…global warming.

To demonstrate its suitability for everyday use, Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka put the first five liters into her official car, an Audi A8 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro*, this Tuesday. “This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research. If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the “green economy” in place,” declared Wanka.

 

Here’s how it works. I’m not even going to try to break it down in a fancy way, so here’s Audi again:

Water heated up to form steam is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen by means of high-temperature electrolysis. This process, involving a temperature in excess of 800 degrees Celsius, is more efficient than conventional techniques because of heat recovery, for example. Another special feature of high-temperature electrolysis is that it can be used dynamically, to stabilize the grid when production of green power peaks.
 
The hydrogen reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at high temperature. The reaction product is a liquid made from long‑chain hydrocarbon compounds, known as blue crude. The efficiency of the overall process – from renewable power to liquid hydrocarbon – is very high at around 70 percent. Similarly to a fossil crude oil, blue crude can be refined to yield the end product Audi e‑diesel. This synthetic fuel is free from sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons, and its high cetane number means it is readily ignitable. As lab tests conducted at Audi have shown, it is suitable for admixing with fossil diesel or, prospectively, for use as a fuel in its own right.

 

 

The plan is to create 3,000 liters of synthetic diesel over the coming months.  As of this time, Audi nor the Federal Republic of German has no information on mass production.

 

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