Audi’s pilot research facility in Dresden, Germany has officially produced its first batch of high-quality, fully synthetic diesel fuel following a commissioning phase of just four months. The fuel is made from a mixture of water and CO2 and can be used for both admixing with fuel or as a fuel on its own.
To produce the diesel fuel, water is heated up to form steam, which is then broken down into separate hydrogen and oxygen parts through high-temperature electrolysis. The hydrogen gasses are then pressurized and heated up, reacting with each other to form a hydrocarbon-based liquid called ‘blue crude’. The blue crude is then further refined to form sulfur-free, aromatic hydrocarbon-free Audi e-diesel.
Audi teamed up with Dresden energy technology corporation sunfire for the synthetic e-diesel project. Sunfire also manages the plant where the fuel is made and uses green energy and an efficient C02 allocation method called air capturing to ensure the production of the gas remains efficient and earth-friendly.
The e-diesel project began in May 2012, with construction on the Dresden plant where its made commencing in July of 2013. According to Audi, the plant will produce over 3,000 liters of e-diesel (a little under 800 gallons) over the coming months. The first five liters of fuel were put into German Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka’s Audi A8 3.0 TDI Clean Diesel, demonstrating “its suitability for everyday use,” the automaker says.