Audi has taken another big step in the development of new, CO2 neutral fuels: A pilot plant in Dresden has started production of the synthetic fuel Audi e diesel. After a commissioning phase of just four months, the research facility in Dresden started producing its first batches of high‑quality diesel fuel this month. To demonstrate its suitability for everyday use, Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka put the first five litres into her official car, an Audi A8 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro, on April 21, 2015. This growing biodiesel category is now expanding to include a new variety of synthetic fuels.
“This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research. If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the “green economy” in place,” declared Wanka.
The Dresden energy technology corporation Sunfire is Audi’s project partner and the plant operator. It operates according to the power‑to‑liquid (PtL) principle and uses green power to produce a liquid fuel. The only raw materials needed are water and carbon dioxide. The CO2 used is currently supplied by a biogas facility. In addition, initially 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.
Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at Audi, sees Audi e‑diesel and Audi e‑fuels in general as an important component that complements electric mobility: “In developing Audi e-diesel, we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long‑distance mobility with virtually no impact on the climate. Using CO2 as a raw material represents an opportunity not just for the automotive industry in Germany, but also to transfer the principle to other sectors and countries.”
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