Audi to build new methane production factory in GermanyJanuary 31, 2013
Audi announces plans for fuel production facility
Acclaimed automaker Audi has announced that it will be building a new fuel production facility in Germany. The facility will make use of surplus energy produced by the country’s renewable power sources, such as wind and solar energy. This surplus energy will be used to produce methane gas from water and carbon dioxide. The venture is expected to help remove a significant amount of carbon emissions from the environment while also producing a gas that can be used as an efficient fuel.
Technology from SolarFuel to be used in new facility
The fuel production facility being built by Audi will make use of technology developed by SolarFuel, an energy company based in Stuttgart, Germany. When fully operation, the facility will be able to produce enough methane gas to fuel approximately 1,500 natural gas vehicles. Audi has plans to release such vehicles to the commercial market this year. These vehicles are expected to be a suitable alternative to the hydrogen-powered vehicles that have become popular in the auto industry.
Methanation powered through surplus energy
Audi will be making use of various technologies for this venture. The automaker will put electrolysis to use, wherein water is split into its base components of oxygen and hydrogen. Through the process of methanation, the hydrogen produced through electrolysis is combined with carbon to produce methane. Such a multi-stage process would typically be considered inefficient, but Audi is making use of surplus energy generated from renewable sources, thus mitigating the environmental and energy impact of the facility.
Natural gas vehicles coming this year
Audi is one of the companies within the auto industry that has been developing more environmentally friendly vehicles. The automaker has ambitious plans concerning the use of natural gas. This year, Audi will be launching its natural gas vehicles, which will come out well ahead of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Consumers have shown modest interest in natural gas vehicles, but Audi believes that it can win a great deal of support from environmentally conscious drivers that have been looking for an alternative to traditional vehicles.