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Audi first to run on a 34% renewable EN228-compliant gasoline blend

Global Bioenergies has used an EN228-compliant gasoline blend containing over 34 percent of renewable, isobutene-derived, compounds to fuel an Audi A4 2.0 TFSI on the historical and prestigious Montlhérya circuit in France. Global Bioenergies also presented the results of preliminary engine testing conducted over the past few months by Germany-headed Forschungsgesellschaft für Energietechnik und Verbrennungsmotoren (FEV), a European leader in engine-testing.

Filling up the first car with Global Bioenergies 34 percent renewable EN228-compliant gasoline for a test drive on France’s historical and prestigious Montlhérya circuit. Held April 5, the occasion marked the start of on-road testing of the fuel for the company and its “e-benzin” project partner, Audi (photo courtesy Gilbert Charles).

For the first time, Global Bioenergies, a France-headed industrial biotechnology process developer, has used an EN228-compliant gasoline blend containing over 34 percent of renewable, isobutene-derived, compounds to fuel a vehicle – an Audi A4 2.0 TFSI. The inaugural test drive, which took place April 5 on the historical and prestigious Montlhérya circuit in France, marks the start of the on-road testing phase.

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

  1. Isooctane, obtained by the condensation of two molecules of isobutene followed by hydrogenation,
  2. Ethyl tert butyl ether (ETBE), obtained by the condensation of isobutene and ethanol.

Both compounds are high-performance additives – high octane rating equal or higher than 100 – that have been in the past produced from fossil oil. Global Bioenergies’ unique process allows the production of the very 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 labelling requirement.

Forschungsgesellschaft für Energietechnik und Verbrennungsmotoren (FEV), a European leader in the field of engine-testing, analyzed the characteristics of these high octane fuel blends using a single cylinder engine, a reliable model of four-stroke engines.

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

An Audi A4 2.0 TFSI provided by the automaker and long-term partner of Global Bioenergies, used the fuel to drive around the historical and prestigious 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, said Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at Audi

The track-drive event also marked the launch of the next phase of commercial preparation: on-road testing using regular vehicles.

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 favourable 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, said Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies.

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