Audi Looks to Make Landscape Greener With “E-Diesel”

June 29th, 2015 by admin

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Germany-headquartered Audi recently announced that it has the ability to synthesize diesel from water and CO2 and the result can fuel vehicles. The company’s Dresden plant successfully conducted the process attempting to yield another sustainable fuel. What does this mean for 4×4 owners in the United States? Fuel efficiency is first and foremost on their minds because trucks, Jeeps and SUVs are notorious gas guzzlers and this novel development could potentially alter the 4×4 landscape to make it greener than ever before.

Audi calls its end product “e-diesel” and claims the fuel is sulfur-free and would burn cleaner than typical diesel. According to Audi, it’s a viable fuel source on its own or can be mixed with conventional car diesel. Whether you’re torturing your Bilstein-tuned, diesel-powered SUV on the Paris to Dakar, or getting the kids to football practice on the Nurburgring, you can go greener than the massive carbon footprint of a hybrid due to actually pulling the CO2 out of the air itself to power your ride.

How It’s Done

Steam is created by heating the water to around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit then the water is heated by electricity and the high-temperature electrolysis divides it into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen gets released and the hydrogen is mixed with CO2 drawn from the atmosphere and when heat and pressure is applied, these two synthesize to produce a liquid called blue crude, similar to the crude extracted from oil wells. That blue crude is further refined into what Audi refers to as “e-diesel,” and the final product contains no fossil fuels.

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Breakthroughs in Fuel Technology

As the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen produces only energy and water, making it clean and environmentally-friendly and a big contender to displace fossil fuels. Recently, a team at Virginia Tech announced it had found a way to create hydrogen fuel via a biological method. Their zero-emmissions fuel is derived from corn leaves, stalks, husks and cobs and the process has the advantage of being comparatively inexpensive. While this shows great potential, processing plants would have to be located near sources of corn to minimize costs.

Future Plans

The Dresden plant plans to further its production on a small scale and Audi is also involved with a plant dedicated to producing synthetic compressed natural gas for use in the CNG-powered Audi A3 g-tron. During the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, manufacturer Niama-Reisser debuted the “one-cycle” CHB-Evo diesel engine. The CHB-Evo reconfigures the diesel engine design and has two cylinders, but the big breakthrough is that units can be stacked to combine diesel power. Purportedly providing an over 20% increase in efficiency over conventional designs and a 40% reduction in the engine’s footprint makes it highly anticipated. Off-roaders can only speculate what a highly efficient engine combined with “e-diesel” would mean for savings and performance.

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