Is Diesel Made from Air and Water be a Green?

by Jesse Crabtree

Audi is teaming up with German energy company Sunfire to make fuel for internal-combustion engines and it is literally pulling the fuel out of thin air. This diesel-like substance, called “Blue Crude,” is a string of hydrocarbons formed by combining atmospheric CO2 with hydrogen atoms obtained by water electrolysis. According to Audi, the process produces fuel at an overall efficiency of 70% and is meant to be powered by renewable energy. Furthermore, one of its main draws is that, with the exception of the electrolysis, all of the infrastructure for production and consumption of this product has already been tried and tested. Although it only releases the CO2 initially reclaimed from the atmosphere, the fact that Blue Crude does not totally sequester any emissions gives it a shaky hold on the term ‘green.’ Thus, Blue Crude’s ‘green’ status depends on renewable energies being used to power its electrolysis step. Either way, Blue Crude relies on several important factors—namely low energy prices and new legislation—in order to even be feasible.

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