Audi has made a new fuel for internal combustion engines that has the potential to make a big dent in climate change. The synthetic diesel is made from just water and carbon dioxide. The German company Sunfire in Dresden been working with Audi to create the fuel. They use a process called reverse electrolysis to break the hydrogen atoms away from the oxygen in water and then they add it to carbon dioxide that has had one of its oxygen atoms removed, becoming CO. The resulting reaction is a liquid hydrocarbon they call e-diesel.
This form of diesel is revolutionary and clean. It doesn’t contain any of the sulfur or lead or other toxic chemicals found in fossil fuels. It is also created from CO2 that is pulled straight out of the atmosphere and sequestered, making the fuel carbon neutral. This is important because it can be burned without adding any more CO2 to the air than is pulled out to make it. The CO2 can be taken straight out of the air, but even better would be to take it straight out of the smoke stacks of power plants that burn fuel to create energy, removing their CO2 from the atmosphere before it is even released. This is great news for the environment, and challenging news for the fossil fuel industry.
Source: Eric Mack, “Audi Just Created Diesel Fuel from Air and Water,” Gizmag, April 26, 2015, http://www.gizmag.com/audi-creates-e-diesel-from-co2/37130/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4f65f6819f-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-4f65f6819f-911453615
Student Researcher: Michael Todd (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)