German carmaker Audi has become the first car manufacturer to offer a chain of sustainable energy carriers after opening an e-gas plant in Werlte.
The plant can convert 6MW of input power and utilises renewable electricity for electrolysis that can produce both hydrogen and oxygen. As there is currently no widespread hydrogen infrastructure, Audi then reacts the hydrogen with CO2 as part of a methanation unit: and this generates the synthetic methane, also known as Audi e-gas.
The Audi e-gas itself is identical to fossil natural gas and is set to make its way to CNG filling stations this autumn. The plant should produce around 1,000metric tons of e-gas per year: which will chemically bind around 2,800metric tons of CO2. This is the equivalent absorption of a forest containing more than 220,000 beech trees. It's only by-products are water and oxygen with waste heat given off during methanation used as process energy in the biogas plant to increase efficiency even further.
It is believed that e-gas from the new plant will power around 1,500 new Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron Vehicles for 9,321miles of CO2 neutral driving.
The vehicle is able to burn natural gas, e-gas or biomethane and has a total range of 808miles. It uses an average below 3.5kg of e-gas per 62miles and its CO2 emissions are less than 95g/km.
Customers who purchase the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron will be able to order a quota of e-gas when they buy the car.
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