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Global Bioenergies obtains a €400K grant from BMBF to produce renewable gasoline additives; Audi to use for engine testing

France-based Global Bioenergies announced that its German subsidiary, Global Bioenergies GmbH, secured a €400,000 (US$446,000) grant from the BMBF (the German federal ministry for research and education) to finance a 14-month-project aimed at producing renewable gasoline additives.

Global Bioenergies has developed a process to convert renewable resources into gaseous isobutene via fermentation. Under the new grant, Global Bioenergies will first produce 100% renewable ETBE, a molecule obtained by the condensation of ethanol and isobutene, and presently used as a gasoline additive in large volumes (worldwide market: 3.4 million tons per year).

Today, ETBE is only half renewable, as the isobutene used to produce it is derived from oil. For the first time, 100% renewable ETBE will be produced at laboratory scale, using Global Bioenergies’ 100% renewable isobutene, with the collaboration of the Fraunhofer CBP institute.

Isobutene produced at Global Bioenergies’ Pomacle pilot plant will be converted into ETBE at the Leuna-based Fraunhofer CBP institute, which will then be shipped to Audi for laboratory testing.

The company will then convert the first batches of bio-isobutene to be produced from the Leuna Demo plant into large enough quantities of renewable isooctane for running preliminary engine testing at Audi. (Earlier post.) (Dimerization of isobutene and hydrogenation produce isooctane.)

The samples received last year from Global Bioenergies are now validated analytically. We are eager to receive larger batches to run preliminary engine testing. Our collaboration with Global Bioenergies, to develop e-gasoline (Audi e-benzin) is getting up to speed.

—Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at Audi (Earlier post.)

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