Audi-owned startup Dresden has produced the first batch of a synthetic e-diesel from two abundant resources: air and water. Obviously it isn’t as straightforward as mixing the two together and putting it in your car, though you can try that if you like and get back to us.
The method is quite scientific but it can be broken down into a series chemical reactions. Firstly, electricity is taken form a renewable source such as wind or solar and is used to produce hydrogen from a water source using reversible electrolysis. In the meantime, carbon dioxide is being turned into carbon oxide through a series of chemical processes.
The resulting CO is mixed with the hydrogen and a reaction between the two creates a liquid that a long-chain hydrocarbon or as it is being dubbed ‘blue crude’. The blue crude is then refined to make the e-diesel.
The fuel innovation brings forward some interesting and exciting revelations, but also many questions. The energy efficiency of such a process could be a one step forward two steps back approach if the energy sourced is not renewable.
The suggestion that CO2 could be plucked straight from the air we breath is promising, along with the exclusion of sulphur and fossil-based nasties make the e-fuel a very promising accomplishment. More likely than not, the enviro-friendly alternative will be mixed with current diesel supplies. A dilution of destruction but a dilution nonetheless.