According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, carbon dioxide levels are at an 800,000-year high, but what if we could pluck CO2 particles out of thin air to use as a raw material for a carbon-neutral fuel? It’s not a pipe dream, because it’s exactly what Audi is doing at a research facility in Dresden, Germany. Called e-diesel, the fuel is currently being produced (following an incredibly rapid commissioning phase of just four months) and already powering an A8 3.0 TDI.
Researched and produced in partnership with Dresden-based energy company Sunfire, the only raw materials needed to make e-diesel are CO2 and water. The method works using the power-to-liquid principle and primarily uses CO2 supplied by a biogas company. The secondary source of CO2 is even more impressive: Another Audi partner, Climeworks in Zurich, has developed a way to capture CO2 particles from ambient air. That means CO2 emitted from e-diesel cars (and anything else that emits CO2, including humans) can potentially be recaptured and reused as fuel, making it a carbon neutral energy source.
Continue reading to learn more about the Audi e-diesel.
Audi has turned the corner on their new "Audi balanced mobility" moto with the launch of a new project called the TCNG e-gas project. The e-gas project will go into production starting 2013 and is the world’s first automotive manufacturer to set up an entire portfolio of sustainable sources of energy.
The TCNG e-gas project will use wind-generated electricity to manufacture hydrogen by means of electrolysis. Hydrogen can be used in the future as a source of energy for fuel-cell vehicles or, in an additional step, can be used to manufacture methane. Such methane is known as Audi as e-gas. It is chemically identical to natural gas and can power combustion engines. More important, it is completely CO2-neutral.
"Ecology and economy in unison: that is the greatest challenge of the future. To attain this we must bring mobility completely into equilibrium – with people and their new values and with the environment. CO2-neutral mobility is our goal," says Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. He continues: "On the way to achieving this we are systematically using clean power. We are producing climate-friendly fuels and forming a new mindset for which our entire company stands. That’s the objective of Audi balanced mobility."
The journey towards developing alternative fuel sources took another step after two Audi A3s successful traveled 1,000 miles by using a new synthetic diesel fuel. Pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves.
The two 2011 A3 TDI models were using RenDiesel, a synthetic fuel that’s made from organic compounds and green waste that are most commonly found in landfills. The fuel, which supposedly produces less volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than regular diesel fuel or ethanol, is being produced by RenTech in Rialto, California. RenTech, together with Audi of America and Green Car Journal, managed to successfully fuel the two A3 TDI models from Eureka, California all the way to San Diego, California – a distance of somewhere around 1,000 miles.
This project not only proved that the new type of synthetic diesel fuel is capable of fueling a car at great distances, but it also was able to boost up the A3 TDI’s mileage rating at 42 miles per gallon – one car was able to average 43 mpg while the other A3 TDI scored 39.7 mpg.
This latest development may not hit home to a lot of people, but the development of a clean-burning synthetic diesel fuel like RenDiesel is one way to make the purchasing of diesel vehicles more worth it. After all, in a world where fuel-efficiency is of paramount importance to a lot of people, the development of a synthetic diesel like RenDiesel could pave the way for more diesel cars to be enjoyed out on the road.
Press Release after the jump.
It is mid-June, the Nurburgring 24 has passed and the endurance race fans from around the world are gathering at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. That is because this Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14 racing greats from around the world are competing in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race twice around the clock includes vehicles from the ALMS as well as the LMS racing series which are made up of two classes of GT, production car based racers, and two classes of prototypes, this year’s race will include 20 of the big boy LMP1 machines all fighting each other as well as lapped traffic for an overall win.
The big battles lately have been between Audi’s and Peugeot’s endurance racing teams at these events. The German automaker is competing in their all new R15 racecar and Peugeot is bringing back their 908, except this time it has Formula 1 derived KERS. Reports from the racetrack say that the Audi camp has gotten a hold of some unfound speed from their previous entrant, the R10. The four ringed automaker has an excellent track record at the epic endurance race, with an Audi engine winning every year since 2000. 2003 was the only year that an Audi R chassis didn’t take home the victory, that year Audi’s factory efforts lent their services to fellow members of the Volkswagen family, creating the Bentley Speed 8. Ever since 2006 Audi’s racing team has been taking advantage of the rules regarding diesel powered race cars, a trend that has caught on with Peugeot.
Continued after the jump.
The lovable little Audi A3 will be receiving a couple of new power plants thanks to the Volkswagen Group. The four ringed automaker has added an alternatively fueled four cylinder engine to the lineup in order to satisfy diesel drivers in Europe as well as increase mileage and reduce emissions. The 1.6 Liter TDI will be offered in two flavors, the first making 90 HP and the second putting down 105 HP, while torque output for the two turbo diesel engines is significantly higher.
In Europe they would say that the 1.6 TDI A3 will consume only 4.1 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers, whereas in the U.S. we would say that it gets 57.37 MPG, all while emitting minimal greenhouse gasses. This excellent ecological performance is made possible by the new vehicle’s start/stop and energy recovery systems. The turbo diesel A3 is no slouch either, the high output version is capable of going from 0 to 60 MPH in 11.4 seconds, not bad considering the vehicle gets about the same gas mileage as a Prius.
Press release after the jump.