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lunes, 12 de marzo de 2018

Audi is testing alternative gasoline produced from biomass by Global Bioenergies and Fraunhofer CBP

Type of post: NEWS IN BRIEF.

The German carmaker Audi is working with Global Bioenergies and the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (Fraunhofer CBP) to develop an alternative gasoline as a contribution to reduce the automotive carbon footprint. The “e-benzin” (e-gasoline), as they call it themselves, is a liquid isooctane that is currently produced from biomass in a two-step process. In the first step, Global Bioenergies produces gaseous isobutene (C4H8). In the second step, Fraunhofer CBP uses hydrogen to transform the isobutene into isooctane (C8H18). The final product is a high-purity synthetic fuel free of sulfur and benzene, therefore, it is especially low in pollutants when it burns. Also, its good anti-knock properties offer the possibility to further increase engine compression and boost efficiency.

The partnership has just announced that a key milestone was reached in their multi-year agreement (see Audi press release, 9/3/2018, and Global Bionergies press release, 8/3/2018). Using its Leuna Demo Plant, Global Bioenergies has produced high-purity renewable isobutene, which was further converted by Fraunhofer CBP into high-performance gasoline components including isooctane, ETBE and isododecane. Audi engineers are now examining the combustion and emission behavior of the renewable fuel in a test engine.

Figure 1. Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes in Leuna (extracted from its website)

Currently, a small part of Global Bioenergies’ ton scale isobutene production is directed toward e-benzin, using Fraunhofer’s lab scale conversion unit. From the e-benzin produced, a batch of 60 litres was delivered to Audi. The production capacity will be significantly increased in 2019 with the addition to the Leuna Demo Plant of a dedicated renewable gasoline production unit.

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