AUDI Harnesses Wind Power for Synthetic Diesel
AUDI has been experimenting with renewable energy sources since 2011, when they began energy production on wind farms on the North Sea. They used this energy to feed the local grid, creating a zero waste model for their future electric cars. Now, they’re taking their interest and commitment to renewable energy sources a step further by turning that energy into liquid fuel. This means their wind farms can help power not only electric vehicles, but conventional vehicles as well.
AUDI has designed several different iterations of this electric fuel over the years, first, in 2013, releasing e-gas, which is chemically similar to natural gas, and then in 2015 releasing something the company calls e-benzin, named after the German word for gasoline. Naturally, the new synthetic diesel will be called e-diesel.
To produce e-diesel, AUDI is working together with the companies Ineratec and Energiedienst out of a plant in Laufenburg, Sweden. Excess power produced in the plant in the form of hydropower and CO2 will be processed into a form that is CO2 neutral. This can then be used to power diesel cars.
The process uses electrolysis to split water into separate hydrogen and oxygen components. Then, CO2–obtained from biowaste gases–is added using a special proprietary technology. This forms both long chain hydrocarbons, which can be used for fueling, and a wax which can be used in other industry and manufacturing areas.
The Laufenburg plant will begin construction in 2018 and will start producing this e-diesel fuel when construction is completed by the end of the year. AUDI estimates it will produce 105,000 gallons of e-diesel a year, but the plant is expected to simply act as a pilot test of the technology.
On the whole, these eco-friendly technologies developed by AUDI and other automakers should help drivers attain loss-free clean energy, whether drivers prefer electric or traditionally fueled vehicles.