German carmaker Audi and US partner Joule are hailing the development of a simple and cost-effective process that produces petrol and diesel from waste water.
The process harnesses genetically modified microorganisms, which are placed in pipes filled with brackish water and reacted with waste CO2 and sunlight. The microorganisms secrete diesel-range paraffinic alkanes without the need for any biomass material. The fuel produced in this way can be used directly without any further processing, say the partners.
The ‘wonder fuel’, as Audi describes it, can be produced almost anywhere and the carmaker is partnering with Joule on a demonstration production facility in New Mexico.
The facility is already producing e-ethanol and Audi and Joule say they are now in the process of ramping up the facility to produce e-diesel.
The e-diesel can be used in diesel vehicles straightaway, while the e-ethanol can be used petrol vehicles with minor modifications to the engine or blended with 15% fossil-fuel based petrol to produce E85 fuel.
“In just a few years, we have made significant strides towards offering sustainable fuel production at the costs, productivity and scale that have eluded biofuels, and with Audi as a key supporter of our demonstration facility, we expect to have global market impact in the near future and well beyond,” says William J. Sims, president and CEO of Joule.
For further information:
Lufthansa and Algae Tec to build biofuel production facility (24-Sept)
US project combining carbon capture and biofuel production moves to next phase (17-Aug)
Boeing, Airbus and Embraer to work together on biofuels (23-Mar)
Low-carbon jet fuel producer LanzaTech raises $55.8 million in series C funding (31-Jan)
05 October 2012