Water is essential to human survival—in fact, water actually makes up approximately 60 per cent of the human body and covers about 70 per cent of Earth’s surface. While humans already use water in a million different ways, German automaker Audi, and green tech company Sunfire, have recently unearthed yet another of its potential functions.
Last month, Time magazine reported that Audi created the first-ever batch of diesel fuel with a net-zero carbon footprint. Students taking automotive training courses know that this news is exciting all on its own; however, what is even more astonishing is that Audi managed to create this fuel using only carbon dioxide, water and power from renewable energy sources like wind and sun.
Students pursuing auto careers will definitely want to keep tabs on this new form of fuel, which has the potential to change the automotive industry forever. Read on to learn more.
Three Step Sustainability: An Auto Professional’s Guide to Water Fuel
While students currently enrolled in mechanic programs may not yet be familiar with the process of turning water into fuel, Audi has found that it is fairly straightforward, needing only three steps. First, solar or wind power is used to heat steam to a very high temperature (over 800 degree Celsius) to break down and divide the hydrogen and oxygen. Next, both hydrogen and carbon are combined under pressure at a high temperature in order to create a liquid substance called “blue crude.” Finally, the blue crude is refined into fuels and creates what has been coined as “e-diesel.”
Is Audi Simply Recycling Past Ideas?
Of course, graduates of mechanic colleges know that the idea to use water to produce fuel has been around for ages—since the 1920s to be precise. In fact, the method is known as the Fischer-Tropsch process, which originally flopped due to its inefficiency, since the process used coal to generate extreme heat. Audi revolutionized this process by using only renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power to generate the necessary heat. Professionals in automotive careers understand that this makes the process much more environmentally-friendly than any other, and it provides a way of successfully storing renewable energy.
What Does the Future Have in Store for E-diesel?
The functionality of e-diesel has already been tested and confirmed as feasible. Additionally, e-diesel can either be used all on its own, or mixed with fossil fuels. Experts say that the next step for this project is to manufacture the fuel for industrial scale production. Of course, industry professionals know that this stage in the process will not be simple, since producing e-diesel on such a large scale will require massive fields of windmills and solar panels—which will be both time costly and expensive.
How long do you think it will be—if ever—before e-diesel becomes a standard form of fuel in the automotive industry?