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Audi is working on turning water into diesel

motor1 logo motor1 10/11/2017 Dominik Wilde
Audi badge © UK Audi badge

Audi is working on an ingenious concept that will harness hydro power to create what it calls 'e-diesel'. Along with partners Ineratec GmbH and Energiedienst Holding AG, the company plans to build a new facility in Laufenburg, in Canton Aargau in Switzerland, that will be used to make e-diesel from the renewable source of hydro power.

The plans are for the facility to produce approximately 400,000 litres of the eco-friendly fuel each year. It goes alongside the company's other efforts to produce climate-friendly fuels in the form of e-gas and e-petrol.

'At the project in Laufenburg, thanks to a new technology we are able to handle the production of e-diesel efficiently in compact units, making it more economical.

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The pilot facility offers scope for sector coupling, in other words combining the energy sectors power, heat and mobility, and makes it possible to store renewable energy,' explained Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi AG.

Audi e-diesel can potentially make conventional engines run completely CO2-neutrally. It is produced by converting surplus hydropower into synthetic fuel. A chemical principle is applied – the green power generated on-site in the hydroelectric power station produces hydrogen and oxygen from water by means of electrolysis.

© Lewis Whyld

The hydrogen then reacts with CO2 using a micro-process technology. The CO2 can come from the atmosphere or from waste gases and is the only source of carbon. Long-chain hydrocarbon compounds are then formed. These are then separated into the e-Diesel and sustainable waxes which are used in other industries.

Audi plans to produce the first batch of readily-available e-Diesel as early as next year. Magic!


Related: Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear (Read Cars)

Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear: Just as diesels are getting more efficient than ever, it now looks like their days may be numbered unless something is done to clean up their act.A few years ago the government incentivised motorists to buy diesels because of their fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. As a result, UK diesel car ownership rocketed from 13.8% in 2001 to around 50%.However, now the focus has switched to dangerous nitrogen dioxide (NO2 or NOx)) emissions which are claimed to be responsible for around 23,500 deaths in the UK each year – and diesels are in the doghouse.Could it mean the end of diesels? Will they be phased out? We’ve chosen 20 of the best diesel cars on the market today – but for how long? Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear

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