If Audi’s new diesel product is as advertised, it could revolutionise how we fuel trucking, mining, and farming. What’s all the fuss about?
Their base product, which they’re calling ‘blue crude’ is created using a three-step process. The first step involves harvesting renewable energy from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. They then use this energy to split water into oxygen and pure hydrogen, using a process known as reversible electrolysis.
This hydrogen is then mixed with carbon monoxide (CO), which is created from carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s been harvested from the atmosphere. The two react at high temperatures and under pressure, resulting in the production of the long-chain hydrocarbon compounds that make up the blue crude.
Sunfire analyses have shown that the synthetic fuel is not only more environmentally friendly, but also has superior combustion when compared to fossil fuels. The overall energy efficiency of the e-diesel is 70 percent, they report.
“The engine runs quieter and fewer pollutants are being created,” said Sunfire Chief Technology Officer Christian von Olshausen in a press release.
That we could make synfuels like these was never in doubt – as long as we had abundant, reliable, *cheap enough* electricity. Peak oilers were always concerned about the many problems with renewable energy, especially the fact that the energy costs of producing all the storage to really back up all that wind and solar power costs so much energy that it eats into the energy profit of the whole system. (EROEI).
But now nuclear power is ‘renewable’ — as Breeders eat nuclear waste and use uranium so efficiently, we could run a much larger civilisation on uranium from seawater no faster than it is topped up again by the erosion of uranium particles off land into the sea!
Now that nuclear power can be mass produced with passive safety, we’ve got a chance. A chance to use extremely high EROEI nukes to power a synfuel civilisation, whether that’s charging Elon Musks’s EV’s, splitting water for hydrogen, or making the synthetic diesel above. The fact that Audi appear to have come up with a cheaper way of making high efficiency diesel is *great* news, and I hope they grow exponentially for trucking and mining and farming at least. I do still hope Elon Musk’s EV’s win in our cities as EV’s would make cities far less smoggy.