In the recent study conducted by Audi, the German automaker proves that their synthetically-produced E-Fuel is at par, if not better than conventional bioethanol and biodiesel in terms of CO² emission and cleaner combustion.
Audi has started collaborating with US-based biotech firm Joule Unlimited in developing their E-Fuel back in 2011. Joule caught Audi’s attention when they successfully engineered a photosynthetic microorganism that emits ethanol and alkene; two important substances that makes up diesel fuel.
What’s great about these microorganisms is that they are rather low-maintenance. All they need is the right amount of sunlight, Carbon Dioxide and Water which doesn’t even have to be clean. This alone puts Audi’s e-Fuel a notch above biofuels which are little more costly to produce.
But not only is the e-Fuel is a more sustainable alternative, it’s also proven to have lesser CO² footprint compared to petroleum diesel because it doesn’t contain aromatics or sulfur.
All that’s left for Audi and Joule now is to refine the process of extracting the e-Fuel from the water where the microorganism thrives. After that, the e-Fuel should be well underway for mass production which, according to Audi, should take place “within the next five years”.