Audi tests its e-fuels inside the glass engine image

The Ingolstadt company is keen on developing cleaner alternatives to the well known conventional fuels and the Germans have now reached the next level in their e-fuels development.

According to the company engineers and the results of their new tests the e-fuels often even perform better than their conventional counterparts – the synthetic fuels have now completed a test cycle in Ingolstadt in the pressure chamber and the glass engine.

“Our test shows that as well as electric driving on renewable electricity, there are other concepts that permit long-distance, low-emission driving,” commented Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at Audi.

The glass engine setup reveals the processes that are otherwise hidden by the metal walls of the cylinders. A small window made of quartz glass enables the experts to observe the fuel’s behavior in the cylinder and how it interacts with the airflow in the combustion chamber.

The engineers were also very interested in mixture preparation and the synthetic fuels’ combustion characteristics. Just to investigate these aspects, a special camera recorded how the fuel behaves during the injection process in a simulated pressure chamber at up to 15 bar and temperatures of 350 degrees Celsius. As synthetic Audi e-fuels are pure fuels, unlike fossil fuels where their composition varies depending on their place of origin, fewer emissions are now generated when they are burned.

Audi now aims to further optimize the production process for e-ethanol and e-diesel as it prepares to deploy them on the market. Audi, in partnership with Joule, has a research facility in Hobbs (New Mexico, United States) for the production of e-ethanol and e-diesel. At this facility, microorganisms use water (brackish, salt or wastewater), sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce high-purity fuels.