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Christopher Bruce2012-12-19 14:24:09

Audi E-Gas Factory Opens in Germany

Allows biomethane to be made from CO2 and Hydrogen

 
 
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Audi already has a version of the A3 capable of running on e-gas or compressed natural gas

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has finished its e-gas factory in Werlte, Germany, that makes bio-methane from CO2 and hydrogen. E-gas production will begin in early 2013, and sales to the public natural gas infrastructure will begin in summer 2013. It is the first automaker to produce its own fuel. The fuel can be used in vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. 

E-gas is a form of synthetic methane made by feeding CO2 and light to bacteria. It is basically a way to create fuel from waste CO2. The process begins with electrolysis to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is mixed with CO2 to create methane. If the hydrogen infrastructure improves, Audi could stop at the electrolysis step and supply hydrogen to cars.  

The CO2 for the factory comes from a local biogas plant and would usually go into the atmosphere. Audi's process bonds the CO2 to the methane so it is a carbon neutral fuel. 

The factory will produce 1,000 metric tons a year of e-gas from 2,800 metric tons of CO2. 

Audi sees e-gas as a short term solution to storing electric energy to fuel cars. It argues that this fuel is like a battery to store renewable electric energy. The waste heat from the factory is transferred to a company next door called SolarFuel GmbH that also creates methane from electricity. 

The factory started construction in September 2012 and covers 4,100m² (44,132ft²)

“This power-to-gas technology opens up new possibilities for sustainable mobility and tomorrow’s energy industry. The e-gas project marks a transition toward alternative forms of energy for automobiles,” said Reiner Mangold, Audi's Head of Sustainable Product Development.

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