If you are interested in the development of alternative fuels, you may have noticed the announcement of the development of "Blue Crude" from water and carbon dioxide.
sunfire, a pioneer in the field of high-temperature fuel cells and reversible electrolysers, announced that the company succeeded in producing synthetic diesel from air, water and green electrical energy for the first time. The cleantech company has built a unique demonstration rig for power-to-liquids, which was inaugurated by the German Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka in November 2014. Recently, the plant reached its full operating condition and now produces synthetic diesel fuel with excellent eco-friendly properties. On behalf of the project partner Audi, an independent laboratory confirmed that the outstanding characteristics of the fuel are superior to the properties of fossil fuel. sunfire, one of the top 100 companies in clean technologies worldwide, is supported by several corporate venture capital companies and funds, including Bilfinger Venture Capital, Total Ventures, KfW and Electranova Capital, a venture capital funds financed by Allianz and EDF.
The digital press folder is available at:
A fact sheet is available at:
The article "Audi Backs an Artificial Fuel Produced by Sunfire’s Power-to-Liquids Process" is available at:
According to the company, the power-to-liquids technology that synthesizes Blue Crude reaches system efficiencies of about 70 percent. The centerpiece of a three-stage production process is reversible electrolysis based on a Solid Oxide Power Core (rSOC). The rSOC generates hydrogen with an efficiency of approximately 90 percent, which reacts with atmospheric carbon to produce a mixture of hydrocarbon chains, of the type found in conventional crude.
Taking Sunfire and Audi’s figures at face value would indicate that around 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity are needed to produce one gallon of diesel. (According to Audi, the diesel is of a higher quality than the traditionally produced variety.)
The process can also go into reverse if electricity prices peak and make the production of Blue Crude uneconomical. After a short turnaround interval, says Sunfire, the system can be switched to fuel-cell mode and used to convert hydrogen reserves or any another fuel back into power and heat. This means that, in addition to providing fuel for mobility, the technology has a potential secondary market of grid balancing and energy storage.
In addition, as an ersatz crude, the synthetic product can be distilled into pretty much anything -- from kerosene to wax to petrochemicals -- and, of course, gasoline and the diesel that was on show in Berlin....
...The next question is, of course, about the economics of the project. Here the two men give a number of caveats, revealing the project’s major stumbling block.
First, they say, legislative changes would be needed in Germany to exempt the production of Blue Crude from the high taxes on power. In the same vein, the success of its adoption is predicated on plentiful electricity. “The final cost of the product is almost wholly dependent on the price of electricity,” says Berninghausen.
But other costs can be a barrier to adoption too, as GTM Research storage analyst Ravi Manghani pointed out: “Most [fuel-cell-like] deployments have struggled to keep up production efficiency without requiring frequent stack or equipment replacement due to membrane or electrode degradation, which drives up costs.”...
The article "Audi in new e-fuels project: synthetic diesel from water, air-captured CO2 and green electricity; “Blue Crude” of 14 November 2014 has more information with pro and con comments that may be of interest:
According to an Audi press release, Blue Crude has a high cetane number and therefore ignites easily:
"...This fuel – Audi e‑diesel – is free of sulfur and aromatics. It also has a high cetane number, which means that it ignites very easily. Its chemical properties allow it to be blended in any ratio with fossil diesel. This means that it can be used as a drop-in fuel...."
Cetane number information can be found at:
Despite the naysayers who comment at articles about "Blue Crude", this alternative fuel may assist in the integration of alternative fuels into existing power grids.
This development may also create more interest in the work of independent inventors who asserted they could use water as a combustion engine power source.
I, for one, would love to have a personal water-based source of fuel to power vehicles. When the kit to make "Blue Crude" is available for home use, perhaps an exercycle could be used to power the conversion. That would be a cause for healthy celebration.