Audi appears to be taking the idea of carbon neutral transportation seriously. Along the way they have identified a new and plausible way to store renewable energy: methane whose carbon source is ambient CO2.
The Audi e-gas facility that is currently being built in Werlte in the Emsland region will be operated with renewable electricity (e.g. from wind energy and solar energy). Expansion into the area of renewable energies is increasing the share of volatile energy sources – sometimes there is a surplus of electricity while at other times a shortage exists. The facility with its electrical power consumption of about 6,000 kW will preferably draw electricity whenever there is an electrical surplus. Then the facility could serve as a means for long-term storage of renewable energies, and this would solve one of the central problems of the transition to new energy sources.
combining hydrogen with CO2 in a methanation system (downstream of electrolysis) to synthesize renewable methane – Audi e-gas. This natural gas substitute can be locally fed into the natural gas network to store the energy. The Audi e-gas facility in Werlte, which Audi is now constructing with system builder SolarFuel, will be the world’s first facility to convert renewable electricity and CO2 into a synthetic natural gas that can be fed into the natural gas network on an industrial scale.
And more power to ’em I say. The rest of the article is equally interesting.