Some people scoff at converting oil into electricity, well to wheel and all that, but wait until they hear this: Audi developed a way to convert electricity into oil. The company opened a pilot plant in Dresden, Germany, that produces diesel fuel from water, CO2 and electricity.
The CO2 is pulled straight from the air – as we all know, there is enough of the stuff. Electricity is produced by solar panels (at least at the Dresden plant …). An electrolysis unit splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then reacted with the carbon dioxide, and out comes a liquid, made up of hydrocarbons. Audi calls the stuff Blue Crude. I am serious.
Nearly 80 percent of the liquid is then converted into synthetic diesel. This fuel – Audi calls it “e-diesel” – is free of sulfur and aromatics, the company says. It also has a high cetane number, which means that it ignites very easily. Its chemical properties allow it to be blended in any ratio with fossil diesel. This means that it can be used as a drop-in fuel. The fuel is then – – – you know the rest.
Why not use the electricity to charge batteries? It looks like Audi is not convinced.