Audi has closed deals with several new energy companies to create clean, sustainable fuels.
One such deal is made with Stuttgart-based SolarFuel, which is building a plant to produce “e-gas” natural gas, used to fuel vehicles such as the TCNG version of the Audi A3 Sportback, recently unveiled at the Paris auto show. The A3 TCNG has a 13.2-gallon petroleum gas tank and a 13.2-gallon natural gas tank, and can reach 775 miles. The model will enter the German market in 2013, when the automaker also expects the clean, synthetic natural gas to be ready.
This new plant will transform hydrogen into synthetic natural gas using the “methanization,” process, resulting a carbon dioxide-neutral fuel. Germany will be the only country to take advantage of the dual-fuel version of the A3 and the synthetic natural gas, as it already has 1,000 natural gas outlets for passenger cars.
Another deal was made with Bedford, Massachusetts-based Joule, which builds a plant in New Mexico, for synthetic ethanol and diesel biofuels. The diesel biofuel produced here will require after-treatment to comply with U.S. emissions standards. This new plant will be finished in 2013, when Audi plans to introduce the biofuels in the North American market and test them on its own fleet.