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.

Press Release

Two Audi A3 TDI models running on Rentech, Inc. (NYSE AMEX: RTK) synthetic RenDiesel® fuel flawlessly completed the 1,000-mile ‘Eureka! Diesel Drives the Future’ tour spanning the length of California.

The endurance drive, part of the ‘2010 Green Car of the Year Tour’, started in Eureka, California on Monday, October 18 with the intent of demonstrating that today’s diesel technology and advanced synthetic fuels each offer significant green advantages. Clean diesel engines can make significant contributions in the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption to make America less reliant on imported oil. Combining clean diesel technology with ultra-clean synthetic fuels can further reduce both greenhouse gases and tailpipe emissions.

Currently available in the market, the Audi A3 TDI provides environmental benefits by producing about 30% less greenhouse gas than a car powered by a comparable gasoline engine, with up to 50% better fuel economy.

The potential of clean-burning synthetic diesel, such as RenDiesel, to produce even less emissions, indeed points to a bright future ahead for Audi TDI technology as a viable green solution.

“The benefits of modern clean diesels like the Audi A3 TDI are apparent on many levels, from improved environmental performance to providing the kind of driving performance people expect,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of “Operating on advanced, clean burning fuels like synthetic RenDiesel simply makes the diesel equation even more compelling.”

Audi A3 TDI travels 1,000 miles using new synthetic diesel fuel High Resolution Exterior
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“We are proud to have partnered with Audi and Green Car Journal on this successful 1,000 mile journey which demonstrated that domestically produced synthetic RenDiesel is a viable solution today to reducing vehicle tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions,” said D. Hunt Ramsbottom, President and CEO of Rentech. “The environmental and performance benefits of RenDiesel seen while driving the Audi A3 TDI show promise for a clean diesel energy future,” Mr. Ramsbottom added.

The two Audi A3 TDIs on the demonstration tour are representative of the clean diesel technology that earned the prestigious Green Car of the Year award at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicles ran the entire route, from the farthest reaches of northern California to southern California, on Rentech’s synthetic diesel fuel, expected to be produced in commercial quantities in a few years at the Company’s new project in Rialto, California, that will produce synthetic diesel fuel from green waste and other organic materials diverted from landfills.

The RenDiesel fuel used on this drive was produced from natural gas at Rentech’s demonstration plant in Colorado. RenDiesel can also be made from synthetic gas produced from biomass and waste resources. RenDiesel provides a viable solution that can be deployed to minimize the transportation sector’s environmental impact. The renewable RenDiesel to be produced at Rentech’s Rialto Project is expected to reduce GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis by as much as 97% over conventional diesel fuel and by a comparable amount over electric vehicles. A vehicle using RenDiesel is also expected to be as much as two times more fuel efficient than one running on ethanol. RenDiesel contains approximately 60% more energy per gallon than ethanol and diesel engines typically achieve 20-40% more miles per gallon than gasoline engines. RenDiesel also produces fewer volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than ethanol or traditional diesel.

Throughout the ‘Eureka! Diesel Drives the Future’ demonstration drive, one of the Audi A3 TDIs achieved 39.7 mpg on average, while the other car averaged 43 mpg. The Audi A3 TDI has an EPA average highway fuel economy rating of 42 mpg on traditional clean diesel fuel. The results were promising, demonstrating that RenDiesel synthetic fuel can operate for more than 1000 miles with no noticeable differences in performance compared to traditional fuels, and research is planned to confirm that this performance can persist over the full lifecycle of vehicles such as the Audi A3.

Source: Audi of America

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (334) posted on 05.20.2011

Yeah, I certainly agree. However, we all know that A3 is quite successful small
version car of Audi. And its a good thing to see on how this car capable of using other alternative for fuel.

  (1022) posted on 04.13.2011

Electric cars are the lamest production. I suggest that they start using this synthetic fuels for more reliable car, 1000 miles is no joke at all.

  (780) posted on 04.13.2011

Wow! that’s amazing! I think car manufacturer should focus on this concept. I bet the synthetic fuels is more reliable compare to electric cars!

  (676) posted on 12.29.2010

I agree, fuel prices are still very high - and with the correct marketing then Audi and VW could make huge gains in the American marketplace.

  (619) posted on 12.29.2010

Yeah, real world numbers are usually way better than EPA numbers. My cousin has a BMW 320d Touring in the UK and if you adjust to reflect US mpg figures, he gets over 50mpg in every day driving.

  (205) posted on 10.28.2010

wow, that was a impressive mile now wonder why the Audi shines during the opening stages of efficiency challenge, scores 78.4 mpg in US

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