Things are getting better.
Audi just announced that it has successfully produced its first batch of top-notch diesel fuel. This seems like a simple feat, but the fuel the Dresden facility in Berlin has produced is made of CO2 as its raw material.
The “e-diesel” is produced using the PtL principle or the power-to-liquid principle. It utilizes green power in its liquid fuel production.
What seems so cool for the non-science majors out there is that according to Audi’s website, in the initial phase of the production, “a portion of the CO2 needed is extracted from the ambient air by means of direct air capturing, a technology of Audi’s Zurich-based partner Climeworks.”
This is a breakthrough in car technology as well as a giant leap for mankind and its lust for fossil fuels.
Here’s a more geeky part of the entire e-fuel production process:
Production of Audi e‑diesel involves various steps: First, water heated up to form steam is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen by means of high-temperature electrolysis. This process, involving a temperature in excess of 800 degrees Celsius, is more efficient than conventional techniques because of heat recovery, for example. Another special feature of high-temperature electrolysis is that it can be used dynamically, to stabilize the grid when production of green power peaks.
In two further steps, the hydrogen reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at high temperature. The reaction product is a liquid made from long‑chain hydrocarbon compounds, known as blue crude. The efficiency of the overall process – from renewable power to liquid hydrocarbon – is very high at around 70 percent. Similarly to a fossil crude oil, blue crude can be refined to yield the end product Audi e‑diesel. This synthetic fuel is free from sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons, and its high cetane number means it is readily ignitable. As lab tests conducted at Audi have shown, it is suitable for admixing with fossil diesel or, prospectively, for use as a fuel in its own right.
To cement this announcement, Germany’s Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka was the first to use the first five liters into her Audi car. Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been supportive of the project since its inception in May 2012.
Now it’s harvest time.
In short, it’s a super cool breakthrough for the entire world.
And the only raw ingredients needed: water and carbon dioxide.