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CFBP and Global Bioenergies: success of tests on including renewable isobutene in domestic bottled gas

The Comité Français du Butane et du Propane (CFBP), the industry organization representing gas supply distribution companies Antargaz, Butagaz Finagaz, Primagaz, Vitogaz and Campingaz, together with Global Bioenergies, a company developing a processes to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation (earlier post), have formed a partnership to incorporate renewable isobutene in commercial butane.

Compatibility of the renewable isobutene produced by Global Bioenergies with commercial bottled butane offers new potential to contribute towards reaching France’s CO2 emissions reduction target. The development also opens up new markets for IBN-One, the first large-scale renewable isobutene production plant which is due to start production in France in 2018.

Butane, propane and isobutene are also known as LPG (liquefied petroleum gases). They are extracted from natural gas or from crude oil refining. In bottled form, these gases are used by 10 million out of a total 18 million French households that are not connected to the natural gas network. There is currently no renewable source of butane.

According to current regulations, butane gas in bottled form may contain a high proportion of isobutene. Hence, converting biomass resources to isobutene constitutes an attractive solution to extend renewable energy to bottled gas, which in turn would contribute towards achieving the French 2030 target of increasing the share of primary energy consumption from renewable sources to 32%.

The CFBP and Global Bioenergies began a series of tests based on a batch of isobutene from renewable sources, produced by Global Bioenergies at its pilot site in Pomacle (Marne, France). The tests focused on the product’s compatibility with the logistics chain and domestic appliances (stoves ...).

At this stage, the tests show that renewable isobutene produced by Global Bioenergies is compatible with commercial butane. The CFBP is keen to continue this collaboration to enable the addition of renewable energy in bottled gas in the short term.

—Joel Pedessac, CEO of the CFBP

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