Issue: Jan 2013


80% CO2 REDUCTION TARGETED BY JOINT AUDI-JOULE FUEL PROGRAM



by Bob Brooks, member SAE

It was announced in September 2012 that Audi and Joule Unlimited had formed a joint effort to commercialize Joule’s unique synthetic diesel & ethanol fuel technology based on microorganisms (www.jouleunlimited.com). Initial production at scale is expected to start at a new plant in Hobbs, New Mexico, engineered and constructed by the Fluor Corporation. In an attempt to best understand Audi’s position in the program, AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES submitted written questions to Audi for which answers, below, were provided by Reiner Mangold, head of environmental product at AUDI AG.

Q. What is Audi’s principal interest in Joule diesel or other fuels?

A. Diesel fuel is the primary focus for Audi support. Audi, with TDI technology, is a world leader in efficient, yet powerful diesels for passenger vehicles. Through its knowledge of diesel fuel and engine combustion processes, Audi helps to design the perfect synthetic fuel for vehicles. Aside from diesel fuel, ethanol production will come first. Following ethanol, Joule diesel fuel is the primary focus of Audi support. We expect Joule’s diesel fuel will provide CO2 reduction of 80% compared with fossil diesel fuel if the overall diesel fuel production system is taken into consideration. We expect to find a beauty of Joule diesel fuel to be blending with (conventional) diesel fuel at any percentage including neat fuel. Joule diesel sources or precious potable water.

Q. How will Audi help advance production and availability of Joule fuel?

A. Audi’s world leadership position and knowledge of motor fuel, combustion systems and experience with powerful, efficient engines will contribute to advancing Joule’s fuels (both diesel and ethanol).

Comment: The Audi/Joule affiliation will bring into view a number of
issues:
- How will total combined CO2 emissions from vehicles and the Joule diesel fuel production system impact the thinking and plans of regulators and industry.

- How will total fuel+vehicle source CO2 levels from 3 cylinder diesel cars compare and be used to average out regulated fleet requirements begining mid next decade?

- Considering the degree of Joule’s indicated interest in world markets, what countries are the firm likely to focus on for potential licensees.

- What percentage of U.S. fuel with properties comparable to Joule fuel may be produced domestically and at what price?

- What reaction in general is likely from environmentalists? Although first production at scale of Joule ethanol and diesel fuel have not been formally announced, sources in Hobbs, New Mexico indicate Joule’s new plant is now ready for start up causing a beehive of activity in the community. With a recent population of only 35,000 and now a $100 million new facility and all that comes with it, Hobbs will likely become an energy boom town due to remarkably clean, renewable Joule drop-in fuels without the environmental problems associated with fracking

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