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Audi e-diesel takes a bad idea and makes it worse

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by 30seconds, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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  2. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Someone should really make a spoof of this that starts with "All you do is fill a rocket with __ and position it such that it has a __ meter orbit around the sun for 10 years and then ___ and then ___ and then you put the liquid in your car."
     
  3. jgs

    jgs Member

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    I don't know about Audi, but when NRL did a press release about this around a year ago I came away with the impression it could be done competitively with petrol. If that's true, it's genuinely interesting, given that it can be used with existing infrastructure unlike H2. Big "if" though. If I come across a reference to the NRL story I'll post it.
     
  4. MikeC

    MikeC Active Member

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    "Competitive with petrol" means far inferior to EVs. I would say that Audi is wasting their time but this is probably just another vaporware press release to distract from their EV incompetence.
     
  5. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    I know it is a common opinion on TMC that BEVs are the only way to go, and certainly I have my moments when I think anything but a BEV is a waste of time for the entire world, but I'm not convinced we can dismiss all alternate fuels as potentially successful long-term enterprises.

    BEV may be a great idea - and it is - but not always does the best idea win.

    At least I'd like to keep an open mind.
     
  6. jgs

    jgs Member

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    In many ways, including cost of fuel, yes. But I think most of us would grant there are still some advantages to petrol, including energy density and fueling time. The neat thing about the NRL process (that it sounds like Audi has adopted) is that it's potentially carbon-neutral (depending on the energy source), presumably works out of the box with existing ICE vehicles, or close, and presumably could work with existing liquid fuel distribution infrastructure. This makes it at least interesting, for the same reasons H2 is not interesting.

    I agree with that part, unfortunately. And in any case, unless someone ramps the process to commercial production very quickly, it'll be irrelevant or at least niche, as EVs become more dominant.

    BTW the NRL interest in the process is said to stem from the Navy's ownership of large vessels that carry nuclear power plants around (for cheap electricity) with access to a large reservoir of CO2 dissolved in seawater, and that carry jets that aren't going to be electric-powered in the foreseeable future. That is a very different use case than mass-market personal transport.
     
  7. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Using one incompetence to distract from another? ;)
     
  8. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    I agree that there is some promise here. This would be another way to store excess renewables. Batteries probably are not the solution for everything. Ocean crossing cargo boats,or using the e-diesel for home heating oil come to mind. How about a non grid connected Supercharger that could burn a liquid renewable to cover peak demand? Vegetable oils can fill this void to some extent, but take a lot more inputs and can compete with food.

    What if half of cars were EV and half were plug-in hybrids burning a partially renewable liquid fuel and partially renewable electricity? Not the zero-emission holy grail, but that would reduce transportation based carbon emissions something 60-70% (lot of factors here but seems like a fair number) and seems very attainable.
     
  9. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    We have a winner. I'd love to see a "wild" supercharger (no grid available) powered by renewables.
     
  10. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    Looks fantastically energy intensive to create this stuff.
    Trivial amounts of CO2 used up, so meaningless for climate change.

    What happens when you burn it?
    Still get soot particles + NOx?
    ie not Zero emissions.

    Diesel engines are losing their popularity with EU regulators especially in cities due to soot problems, and a little talked about issue is that petrol engine emission regulations are now forcing these to emit increasing soot too.

    Zero Emissions is one of the biggest plus points of BEVs
    The biggest -ves of BEVS is energy density and charge times, both of which are improving steadily

    e-Diesel looks irrelevant to me on most every count
     
  11. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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    Looks like they are making a long chain hydrocarbon. I'm betting that Co2 is released when it is burned for fuel. I think that is what they mean by carbon neutral. Otherwise it would be carbon sequestering
     
  12. jgs

    jgs Member

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    Here's a citation for the NRL process. Just about a year ago. Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight With Fuel From the Sea Concept - U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

    "The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years."

    - - - Updated - - -

    The article above cites 92% efficiency for the NRL process.

    I don't understand this point at all. Since the process is carbon neutral (if fueled by a carbon neutral power source) it's potentially quite meaningful.

    Your points about other emissions are well taken, though.
     
  13. MikeC

    MikeC Active Member

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    I don't see how just using the electricity generated from step 1 can ever be less efficient than all the subsequent steps that Audi wants to do here:

    audi-fuel.jpg
     
  14. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    They believe it's competitive with existing fossil fuels - it would retail for 1 to 1.5 EUR per litre, compared with 1.5 EUR per litre for standard diesel in Germany today, at least according to what I was reading.
     
  15. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Unsaid is what emissions this fuel produces. I could care less about carbon neutral, does it pollute city air? Can you breathe the emissions?
     
  16. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Well, there isn't any sulfur in it, but modern ULSD and gas have almost none anyway. Other than that, I would expect exactly the same emissions you'd get from the engine on dino fuel - the particulates, NOx, and any CO emissions are all from the combustion process.
     
  17. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I imagine it's mostly CO2 and H20 with few pollutants.
    The idea might be worth looking into, and it's unclear to me that it's any worse than Hydrogen. I've always wondered why we're so focused on Hydrogen, since Hydrogen is generally a difficult molecule to store and transport. If your inputs are air, water, and energy, why not look at other possible molecules for energy storage... Methane, Ethane, Propane, Gasoline, Methanol, Ethanol, etc.... You can make any of those you want with just air, water, and energy. Sure there are efficiency concerns, but at least you don't have as many concerns about how to get all of the fuel into your car.

    Of course, it doesn't make sense to burn dinosaur fuels to assemble molecules that look somewhat like the fuel you just burned, only with 30% less of it. but it doesn't make sense to burn dinosaur fuels to assemble H2, either. None of these technologies are going to make sense until renewable energy costs less than fossil fuel energy.
     
  18. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Well, the conversion on both ends is substantially worse than hydrogen. To get their "70%" efficiency for synthesizing fuel, they start with a 90% efficient hydrolysis to produce hydrogen - and then on the vehicle end they are burning it in a traditional ICE, at 25-45% efficient vs a ~60% fuel cell. That means you're looking at only half the energy of Hydrogen and a bunch more pollution if all other factors were equal.

    Of course, they aren't equal. We don't have infrastructure for the Hydrogen yet, and it costs energy to compress and to store it (it gradually leaks through most anything over time.)

    The more you look at proposals like this, the clearer the advantages of a battery car become. :)
     
  19. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Right, the value of diesel and gasoline is energy density. Battery's greatest challenge is energy density. Renewable electricity's greatest challenge is intermittancy. Personally I see syn-NG as better, but syn-diesel would be much easier to use for transportation.
     
  20. jgs

    jgs Member

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    One of the values to Audi of course, apart from distraction from their failure to ship an EV, is that the ability to produce a finely-tuned engine with lots of little explodey high-speed reciprocating bits of metal is a significant barrier to entry preventing upstarts from California and elsewhere from eating your lunch. They probably don't expect it to work, but if it does the payoff is huge so they might as well try.
     

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