Audi “e-benzin” is synthetically produced without the use of petroleum. It is 100-percent iso-octane and therefore has an outstanding octane rating of RON 100. Because Audi “e-benzin” contains no sulfur or benzene, it burns very cleanly. It is thus a high-grade fuel that enables engines to use high compression ratios for enhanced efficiency. Audi will test the new fuel in the lab and in test engines. In the medium term, the company and Global Bioenergies aim to modify the process so that it requires no biomass, instead requiring just water, hydrogen, CO2 and sunlight.
Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at AUDI AG, emphasized that Audi has taken a broad-based approach to the development of CO2-neutral, non-fossil fuels. “Global Bioenergies has demonstrated the viability of the Audi “e-benzin” production process. That is a big step in our Audi e-fuels strategy.” Audi is already producing larger quantities of “e-gas” (synthetic methane) on an industrial scale for its customers. Other research projects with various partners are dedicated to Audi “e-ethanol”, Audi “e-diesel” and Audi “e-benzin”.
Global Bioenergies S.A. operates a pilot plant for the production of isobutene, the starting material for Audi “e-benzin”, in the French town of Pomacle, near Reims. Isobutene is produced there from renewable raw materials rather than the usual petroleum. Another project partner is the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CPB) in Leuna, Saxony-Anhalt. Researchers there use hydrogen to transform the gaseous isobutene into liquid iso-octane. Global Bioenergies is building a demonstration plant at the Fraunhofer Center that will begin producing larger quantities in 2016.