Electric cars are great, but expensive. Also, if you like driving normal internal combustion vehicles, it is quite a big lifestyle change to climb behind a steering wheel of an electric car. They are not even that good for the environment as it may look like, as lithium mining is not exactly a clean process and recycling is going to be a challenge. However, Audi is working on creating a different kind of ecological transportation – it is just so familiar.
You come to a petrol station, open your tank and fill up your car – you’re free to go within minutes. That is the power of liquid fuel. However, since out current fossil fuel-based system is not too good for the environment, Audi is working to create e-gas, e-gasoline and synthetically manufactured e-diesel fuels. Audi has a new pilot facility for the production of e-diesel in Switzerland and it may be the perfect fuel for the future.
Buying a new car is always a challenge financially, but Audi-s e-diesel will work with your current diesel vehicle. Furthermore, it is almost CO2 neutral, because of its manufacturing process. At first, green electricity is used to create hydrogen through electrolysis of water. This hydrogen is then reacted to CO2, using an innovative and very compact microprocess technology. CO2 can be sourced from various different places – atmosphere or some biofuel. This creates long-chain hydrocarbon compounds, which later can be split into e-diesel and some waxes that are generally used in other areas of industry.
Even though Audi and its partners are still just in planning phase, there are hopes that, if everything goes right, first batches of e-diesel will be made as early as next year. Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at AUDI AG, said: “The pilot facility offers scope for sector coupling, in other words combining the energy sectors power, heat and mobility, and makes it possible to store renewable energy”. Because of how compact these units are, it is going to be a quick build – Audi is soon going to be using its own e-diesel. Because CO2, used to create the fuel, will be taken from the atmosphere, emissions of the cars burning e-gas will be pretty much CO2 neutral. Except, of course, logistics and some other areas around the process.
It is not the only project like this that Audi is pushing forward. In Werlte, north Germany, Audi is manufacturing synthetic methane, called e-gas, which is used in brand’s g-tron models A3, A4 and A5. E-gasoline is in sight as well. All these technologies could make the cars we have today that much more ecological.