Audi makes its own diesel out of water and CO2

Audi’s research centre in Dresden, Germany, has produced its own synthetic diesel using water and CO2 – and used it to fuel a car.

To demonstrate its suitability for everyday use, Germany’s federal minister for education and research, Johanna Wanka, used the synthetic diesel in her official car, a 3.0-litre diesel Audi A8.

She said: “This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research. If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the ‘green economy’ in place.”

The fuel uses CO2 provided by a biogas facility, as well as a portion extracted from the ambient air through direct air capturing.

This reacts with hydrogen, extracted from water by means of high-temperature electrolysis. The result is a liquid known as ‘blue crude’, which is similar to fossil crude oil. It can then be turned into Audi’s e-diesel and can be mixed with regular diesel, or used as a fuel in its own right.

The plant in Dresden opened in November 2014, and is set to produce over 3,000 litres of e-diesel over the coming months.