Back in November 2014 the third largest luxury automaker in the world reported it was hard at work in their e-diesel research facility in a bid to produce eco-friendly fuel. Now they’re back with an update – the first batch of the fuel has been produced.
Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, took the occasion to mark the even by getting the first-ever five liters of e-diesel into the tank of her government car, coincidentally an A8 3.0 TDI. “This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research,” commented the minister. “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.” The facility managed to produce the first batches of the high-quality diesel in just four months after being commissioned – with the Dresden energy technology corporation being the plant’s operator and Audi’s research partner.
In case you don’t remember anything about the factory’s task, here’s a refresher. The facility operates under the power-to-liquid (PtL) principle and makes use only of green power to deliver the fuel. The raw materials implicated in the production are simple and abundantly available: water and carbon dioxide. The process is of course intricate and complicated, but Audi says that during the initial phase the CO2 comes from the ambient air by means of direct air capture, then comes from a biogas facility. An electrolysis unit get the water broken down in hydrogen and oxygen and the first is used to react with the carbon dioxide in two chemical processes to deliver an “energetic liquid, made up of hydrocarbon compounds, which is called Blue Crude.” The later is later refined just like crude oil into the end product.