Audi has decided to expand its ongoing research into synthetic diesel fuel by setting up a new pilot facility in Switzerland. Audi has been engaged in this research for the past four years and the establishment of the new plant which will use only water, air, and electricity as raw materials represents a significant advance on the sustainability front.
At the plant, water would be split into hydrogen and oxygen through the process of electrolysis. The oxygen would be released into the surrounding atmosphere. The hydrogen that is obtained through the process reacts with C02 sourced from air with the help of microprocess technology, thus forming long-chain hydrocarbon compounds. These compounds are separated to get the Audi e-diesel.
The pilot plant will have the capacity to produce 105,669 gallons of the synthetic fuel per year. Audi will be teaming up with Ineratec, a chemical reactor tech company, and Energiedienst AG, an electricity company, to set up the factory and construction on the facility is slated to start by the beginning of 2018.
From 2014, Audi has been partnering with an energy tech company named Sunfire to work on synthetic diesel at a facility in Dresden where the fuel was made with a different technology, though the process was based on the same principles. According to Audi, the synthetic fuel produced at the new plant in Laufenburg, Switzerland, will be a lot cheaper as the plant can produce e-diesel in compact units.
Audi’s new process that makes it possible to produce synthetic diesel from renewable sources is definitely a noteworthy achievement and might possibly go a long way towards offsetting the bad reputation diesel has now got as a source of pollution. Audi says use of e-diesel can make traditional combustion engines almost completely C02-neutral. This means there will be practically insignificant release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In addition to e-diesel, Audi is also making synthetic methane for the A3, A4, and A5. It has a facility in Werlte, north Germany, for making this fuel, known as Audi e-gas.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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