'Eureka! Diesel Driving the Future' to Feature Audi A3 TDIs Running 1,000 Miles -- the Length of California -- on Synthetic RenDiesel®

Clean diesel journey a part of Green Car of the Year Tour™

Oct 12, 2010, 14:35 ET from Audi of America, Inc.

EUREKA, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A pair of 2010 Audi A3 TDI cars are scheduled to embark on a four day, 1,000 mile journey beginning October 18, 2010 driving exclusively on synthetic RenDiesel® fuel produced from natural gas by Rentech, Inc. (NYSE AMEX: RTK). The Audi A3 TDI® is Green Car Journal's 2010 Green Car of the Year®.

The drive by Green Car Journal editors and invited VIPs is part of the magazine's Green Car of the Year Tour™, which this year focuses on the important role that advanced clean diesel vehicles play in efficiency and CO2 reduction, plus the potential that lies ahead for sustainable non-petroleum fuels. Clean diesel models have captured top honors as the Green Car of the Year® the past two years. This California stage of the tour follows the magazine's August 2010 Green Car of the Year Tour™ activity at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.

The two A3 TDIs will leave on their 1,000-mile journey from Eureka, California's largest northernmost city located on Humboldt Bay, heading toward San Diego, the state's largest southernmost city. Stops along the way include Sacramento (October 18), San Francisco (October 19), and San Diego (October 20), with a return northward to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for a Green Car of the Year Tour™ wrap-up event on October 21.

"With many thousands of miles already behind the wheel of Audi's outstanding A3 TDI over the past year, Green Car Journal editors are well acquainted with the model's thriftiness and fun-to-drive nature," said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of the Green Car Journal and Editor of GreenCar.com.  "Running on a 100% low carbon fuel will make this 1,000 mile journey all the more satisfying."

A tour stop will also take place in Rialto on October 20, about 55 miles east of L.A., where Rentech is developing the Rialto Renewable Energy Center. This facility is designed to produce approximately 640 barrels per day of renewable synthetic fuels from urban green waste suitable for diesel vehicles and approximately 35 MW of renewable electric power. Both of these products will have a low carbon footprint. In addition, the renewable RenDiesel® can be used in existing engines and distribution infrastructure.

RenDiesel® provides a viable solution that can be deployed today to minimize the transportation sector's environmental impact. The renewable RenDiesel® to be produced at the Rialto Project is expected to reduce GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis by as much as 97% over conventional diesel fuel and by a comparable amount over electric vehicles. A vehicle using RenDiesel® is also expected to be as much as two times more fuel efficient than one running on ethanol. RenDiesel® contains approximately 60% more energy per gallon than ethanol and diesel engines typically achieve 20-40% more miles per gallon than gasoline engines. RenDiesel® also produces fewer volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than ethanol or traditional diesel.

"Rentech is excited to participate in this Green Car Journal drive, celebrating innovation and clean diesel," commented D. Hunt Ramsbottom, President and CEO of Rentech. "Diesel vehicles such as the Audi A3 and fuel such as Rentech's synthetic drop-in RenDiesel® provide viable solutions to improving our environment. We commend the Green Car Journal for recognizing innovative technologies and embracing the future of America's fuels," Mr. Ramsbottom added.

The Audi A3 TDI combines the exceptional luxury that is a hallmark of Audi models with outstanding fuel efficiency. The Audi A3 TDI achieves an EPA-rated 42 mpg in highway driving, the highest fuel economy standard of any luxury car sold in the U.S.  Consumer response to the benefits of clean diesel technology in the A3 TDI has been remarkable. The TDI model accounted for 55% of all U.S. A3 sales in September.

Audi has strongly supported advances in synthetic diesel and other alternative fuels as an answer to emissions and fuel consumption challenges. It is the firm belief of Audi engineers that progress in diesel technology can provide fast and tangible benefits to these global concerns.

The Green Car of the Year Tour™ will arrive at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Thursday, October 21, where an A3 TDI will be added to the museum's Alternate Power exhibit. This exhibit showcases historic and modern 'clean' vehicles that run on alternatives fuels and electric drive.

A clean diesel panel discussion that follows will include executives from Audi, Bosch, Rentech, and Argonne National Laboratory. Moderated by Green Car Journal's Ron Cogan and Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA, the panel will discuss the latest advances that have made clean diesel vehicles a viable and growing option in the marketplace. It will also explore the technology advances that are making diesel even cleaner and the potential impact of synthetic and bio-based diesel fuels.

The Green Car of the Year Tour™ is sponsored by Robert Bosch LLC, which manufactures the common rail piezo injectors, fuel pump, and sophisticated electronic engine controls that help clean diesel vehicles achieve their high fuel economy, low emissions, and 50-state emissions certification.

Wrapping up the day's activities will be an announcement of the nominees for Green Car Journal's 2011 Green Car of the Year® program. The 2011 Green Car of the Year® winner will be identified on November 18 at the L.A. Auto Show.

SOURCE Audi of America, Inc.