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Audi Produces First Batch of Air- and Water-Based “e-Diesel”

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/22/2015 Erick Ayapana

Sulfur in diesel fuel is one of the main culprits of unwanted particulates and soot. Audi, however, has figured out a way to produce an eco-friendly and sulfur-free diesel called e-diesel, which is produced from a combination of just air, water, and electricity.

Audi e diesel plant© Provided by MotorTrend Audi e diesel plant Audi and its partners, including Climeworks, began working on this project back in 2012. Last November, they opened a new e-diesel plant in Dresden, Germany and the first usable batch was produced earlier this week.

Creating the synthetic diesel starts by harnessing carbon dioxide from two sources -- a local biogas facility and ambient air. The latter is done by “direct air capturing” technology developed by Climeworks. Next, an electrolysis unit (powered by green energy) breaks down water and the captured hydrogen, along with the harnessed CO2, which goes through a high-pressure and high-temperature reactive process that produces Blue Crude. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

The Blue Crude is rich with hydrocarbon compounds and is refined to produce the e-diesel, which can also be mixed with regular diesel. Audi says 80 percent of the Blue Crude converts to e-diesel and that the efficiency of the process (green energy used to produce the Blue Crude) is high at around 70 percent.

The initial batch yielded five liters, which was put to the test in an Audi A8 TDI. Audi hopes using CO2 as a raw material will eventually become a viable and widespread option. For now, the automaker plans to produce around 800 gallons of the e-diesel in the coming months for further testing.MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Source: Audi

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