On December 13, Audi celebrated its synthetic methane (e-gas) vehicle fuel plant, which is under construction in Werlte, Germany. Audi says that it is the world's first industrial plant for generating e-gas from CO2 and renewable electricity. Its end product will be hydrogen and synthetic Audi e-gas, which will be used as climate-friendly fuel for vehicles such as the new Audi A3 Sportback TCNG. E-gas production will begin in the spring of 2013.

The Audi e-gas plant will utilize renewable energy for electrolysis. The electrolysis process splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, or Audi e-hydrogen, which at some point can be used to power fuel-cell vehicles. Since there's not much of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure in place yet, Audi can react the hydrogen with CO2 in a methane-processing unit to generate renewable synthetic methane, or Audi e-gas. The e-gas can be delivered to fueling stations through the local natural-gas network, since chemically speaking, the e-gas is nearly identical to fossil-based natural gas.

Audi unveiled the 2013 A3 Sportback in Munich, right before the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September. The five-door hatchback features a bi-fuel powertrain as part of the Audi e-gas project. Since compressed natural gas fueling stations are hard to find, the A3 also makes use of a 13-gallon gasoline tank to help give the car an effective range of around 745 miles.

The e-gas initiative is part of Audi's strategy of bringing cleaner, carbon-neutral fuel to internal combustion engines. The Werlte plant will generate enough CO2-neutral e-gas to power 1,500 new Audi A3 Sportback TCNG vehicles 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) each year. This compact five-door hatchback is scheduled to arrive at dealerships in late 2013.

Audi gets the CO2 to power the e-gas plant from a nearby biogas plant, operated by energy company EWE. The CO2 is made climate neutral by being chemically bonded into the fuel at the Audi e-gas plant, so that it won't pollute the atmosphere. Audi's new e-gas plant will be able to annually produce about 1,000 metric tons (1,102 US tons) of e-gas, and will chemically bind about 2,800 metric tons of CO2. That's roughly the equivalent to the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by about 224,000 beech trees in a year.

Audi was given an award for its e-gas project in November. The Working Group for Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Energy Use honored Audi with an award and 15,000 euros.

From Our Partners

You May Like
Links by Zergnet
Share This Photo X