Audi creates synthetic diesel with CO2 at Dresden plant

Audi has announced that its Dresden facility has produced the maker's first batch of "e-diesel", a synthetic diesel that is made using CO2 and that, by proxy, results in a more efficient use of resources, and that helps protect the climate. The announcement was made earlier today, with Audi saying it was "a huge success", and that the batch of diesel started being produced only a handful of days ago. Today, to emphasize that it can be used for everyday purposes, the nation's Federal Minister of Education Dr. Johanna Wanka poured five liters of the fuel into her own Audi.

Audi aims to "make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material", something the maker says is of "crucial" importance for protecting our climate and resources. It'll also help spur the so-called "green economy." The Dresden plant is said to need only CO2 and water as the raw materials, and to use green power as part of the production process. Some of the CO2 that is used is captured from the ambient air.

The process is extensive, and includes heating up water to steam, which is broken into oxygen and hydrogen using electrolysis. The use of high-temperature electrolysis is said to be more efficient than traditional methods, and that it has dynamic applications. The CO2 ends up reacting with the hydrogen in synthesis reactors, and after a process there's a liquid reaction product made from "blue crude". Says Audi, the efficiency comes in at approx. 70-percent. Ultimately, that blue crude, as it's called, is refined into Audi e-diesel.

Said Audi's sustainable product development head Reiner Mangold, "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."