Last year we saw the introduction of numerous hit car technologies including the first flying car, the aeromobil 3.0. However, Audi seems to take the cake this year through its E-Fuels project, which successfully managed to create synthetic diesel fuel using only water and AIR! The fuel was developed at a research facility in Dresden after a commissioning phase of just four months. It’s truly a miracle and automakers from all around the world are surprised with this news.
According to recent reports, the E-Fuels project began way back in 2012 and is masterminded by Audi’s partner and the German clean tech company, Sunfire. For those of you who believe this is a hoax, you can consider watching the video in which the German Education and Research minister Johanna Wanka tested the fuel by putting five liters of the first batch into her personal car. She declared the project a success, as her car functioned perfectly without giving any trouble whatsoever.
She even stated in an interview that if automobile industries around the world utilize E-Fuel, they will make a crucial contribution to the fundamentals of a healthy green environment. So, how is this fuel produced? Well, the creation of the synthetic diesel begins by harnessing carbon dioxide from two sources: ambient air and a local biogas facility. Therefore, carbon dioxide will no longer contribute to global warming and will be recycled to make a more efficient, carbon-neutral fuel.
Coming back to subject, once carbon dioxide is collected, an electrolysis unit (powered by green technology like solar and wind power) delivers the heat required (over 800 degrees Celsius) to break down oxygen and hydrogen. Once both compounds have been broken down, carbon dioxide is mixed with hydrogen at high temperature and under great pressure to produce what is called ‘blue crude’, which is rich with hydrocarbon compounds.
The blue crude is then refined into E-Fuel in a way similar to how fossil crude oil is refined into gasoline. Therefore, this process forms synthetic diesel created simply by air and water! Audi and Sunfire conducted further tests and experiments to show that E-Fuel can also be mixed with fossil fuels or be used as a fuel of its own. But, that’s not all. Audi claims the E-fuel is also free from sulfur, which is one of the main culprits of soot and unwanted particulates and is many times superior to standard fuel.
Additionally, Audi even stated that the overall energy efficiency of the E-Fuel creation process using renewable sources of energy like wind or solar power is around 70%, which is many times more efficient as to normal fossil-fuel based gasoline. Not to mention, with E-Fuel the engine will release fewer pollutants and will run quieter. For further studies and safety tests, Audi and Sunfire aim to produce 42 gallons of synthetic diesel per day in the coming months and will even build a larger plant.
This leaves many of us asking one simple question: How much will the E-Fuel cost? Well, according to recent reports Sunfire anticipated that the market price for this synthetic diesel could reach between 1 and 1.20 Euros per liter ($1.10 to $1.30), which is higher of course compared to the current German pre-tax price of around 0.6 Euro per liter gasoline.