It is of utmost importance that we switch to alternative fuels in order to protect the environment and save the fossil fuels. Audi has stepped forward with its new invention in this context; synthetic diesel created from carbon dioxide and water only. The ‘e-diesel’ has been created by Audi’s plant in Dresden that is being run by Sunfire – a German startup.
The German Field Minister of Education and Research – Johanna Wanka – had a few liters of this fuel filled into her Audi A8 work car, in order to commemorate the huge achievement. The base fuel has been termed as ‘blue crude’. The process starts by making use of electricity obtained from renewable sources and performing reversible electrolysis to extract hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is then combined with CO2 that has already been converted into CO via 2 chemical processes. The subsequent reactions result in the production of a liquid that has been created from long chain hydrocarbons – this liquid is known as blue crude – and is further refined to obtain the e-diesel.
According to Audi, the carbon dioxide that is used in the process has been obtained from a biogas facility, however, some of the CO2 has been taken from the ambient air thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gas.
Sunfire has boasted that the properties of this synthetic diesel surpass those of the fossil fuel as per analysis and the lack of Sulfur and oils based on fossil fuel impart enhanced environment friendliness to the diesel. Audi stated that the energy efficiency of the fuel creation process by making use of renewable power stands at 70%.
CTO Sunfire, Christian von Olshausen said, “The engine runs quieter and fewer pollutants are being created.” As is being done already; this fuel can be mixed with the traditional diesel fuel. The Dresden pilot plant will be generating about 160 liters of e-diesel on a daily basis in the months to follow. Christian further said, “If we get the first sales order, we will be ready to commercialize our technology.”
As far as pricing goes, Sunfire hopes that it would be priced at 1-1.5 Euros per liter, however, the final price will greatly depend on the cost of electricity.