In a strife to make environment free from pollution, automobile companies are trying hard to find out new ways of turning vegetable oil, microbes in panda poop, algae, bamboo etc into fuel. But have you ever thought of a fuel that is both easily available at gas stations and carbon free?
Yes, this has been made true by the German Car manufacturing giant Audi. Audi announced that it has successfully developed the concept of e-diesel. This e-diesel mainly contains ethanol. Audi has used simple compounds such as carbon dioxide and water to make this fuel. Sunfire, a green tech company, whose plant is in Dresden, has within the commissioning period of 4 months have produced first lot of “blue crude”. ‘Blue crude” is a liquid fuel made up of hydrocarbon compound chains. It does not consist of aromatics and sulfur, thus producing zero soot while burning.
The very first process in making “blue crude” is using renewable energy such as hydropower, solar energy and wind power. This energy that is collected from renewable sources is used to heat water up to 800 Celsius or 1472 Fahrenheit. Oxygen and hydrogen are then separated from the steam using high temperature electrolysis process, wherein the solution of the compounds is passed by electric current.
After the separation of oxygen and hydrogen, carbon monoxide is mixed with hydrogen under great pressure and heat. This blending of hydrogen with carbon monoxide creates a hydrocarbon, which is called “blue crude”.
According to Sunfire, synthetic fuel scores higher than fossil fuels when it comes to being environment friendly. It also claims that the efficiency of this new “blue crude” hydrocarbon is around 70% which is very high. This “blue crude” or e-diesel can be easily mixed with normal diesel or can be solely used as an automobile fuel.
Fischer-Tropsch is the method which is actually used by automobile giant Audi. This method came into existence in 1920s, when it was used by German army to make diesel out of coal in Second World War, when they fell short of the required amount of fuel. This process of making diesel is very popular in countries which have low oil reserves but have huge reserves of fossil fuels like coal and gas.
Audi has admitted that it was not the first one to use this process. This method was previously used by another German car manufacturer Choren, which used Fischer-Tropsch method to make biofuel out of biogas. Choren was supported and funded by companies like Volkswagen and Shell, but the year 2011 didn’t turned good for the company as it went bankrupt, as there were several irregularities found in the process.
Experimental plant of Audi is expected to produce 793 gallons of e-diesel in months to come. It means that the customers had to wait until and unless this concept of “blue crude” is readily accepted by energy giants all over the world.
Germany’s Federal Minister for Research and Education, Johanna Wanka created history as she became the first person to use this e-diesel in her Audi A8.