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Global Bioenergies beginning road testing with Audi A4 fueled with 34% renewable gasoline blends

Global Bioenergies is beginning the road-testing phase of renewable gasoline derived from its fermentative isobutene pathway. (Earlier post.) Global Bioenergies will use an EN228-compliant gasoline blend containing more than 34% of renewable, isobutene-derived, compounds to fuel a car on a circuit.

In preparation for commercial uses, Global Bioenergies developed several gasoline blends with two isobutene-derived compounds:

  • Isooctane, obtained by the condensation of two molecules of isobutene followed by hydrogenation; and

  • ETBE, obtained by the condensation of isobutene and ethanol.

Both compounds are high-performance additives (octane rating equal to or higher than 100) that have been in the past produced from fossil oil. Global Bioenergies’ unique process allows to produce the same compounds from renewable feedstocks such as industrial-grade sugars, straw, residual wood and potentially syngas.

The blends prepared by incorporating both ETBE and isooctane were designed for compliance with the EN228 norm, and are thus already authorized for sale to any gasoline car owner without any specific labeling requirement.

FEV, a German corporation leader in the field of engine-testing, analyzed the characteristics of these high octane fuel blends using a single-cylinder test engine.

ETBE and isooctane are known to be very high-performance additives, and the results were generally in line with expectations. Furthermore, the properties of the added fuel components may suggest some reduction of particle emissions. We are eager to contribute to the development of high-renewable-content fuels leading to reduced carbon footprint and improved air quality.

—Dr. Johannes Scharf, Vice President Gasoline Powertrains at FEV Europe GmbH

An Audi A4 2.0 TFSI provided by the carmaker, Global Bioenergies’ long-term partner, and fueled by the renewable blends will drive the Montlhéry speed ring.

The objective of the partnership with Global Bioenergies is to develop sustainable e-benzin to our customers, as a contribution of Audi to reduce the automotive carbon footprint. The potential CO2-savings and emission reduction effects associated to drop-in synthetic fuels are important assets in our e-fuels strategy.

—Reiner Mangold, Head of sustainable product development at Audi

Today represents a huge milestone for the Company. Only a few years after our process moved into scale-up phase, we now see the concrete translation of all our efforts. The gasoline blend developed by the company and used here today in Montlhéry has an exceptionally high content in renewable compounds. The market trend for cleaner, less polluting energy sources is likely to be favorable for such blends that match the European regulatory environment. In our next phases, we will focus on the remaining technology and business challenges and prepare the commercial deployment of the technology.

—Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies

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