Audi’s e-fuel project has produced its first batch of a synthetic and renewable fuel called “e-benzin”, in partnership with French company Global Bioenergies.
E-fuel and e-benzin could one day relegate fossil fuels to the pages of history, as a renewable, clean-burning fuel that uses no petroleum products yet has an octane rating (RON) of 100.
Audi describes its new fuel as “highly pure”, and says the next step calls for the “total elimination of biomass” - instead requiring just water, hydrogen, CO2 and sunlight.
This batch of e-benzin was primarily based on glucose from corn syrup, and its purity means no benzene or sulphur was required to refine it from a crude liquid.
E-benzin is suitable for engines with high compression ratios. Higher compression can be used to boost performance, improve fuel economy, or both.
The e-fuel can also be used as an additive to ‘conventional’ petrol, in a similar fashion to E10 and E85 ethanol-blended fuels.
Furthermore, E-fuel products could eventually be used as a substitute for petroleum in products such as plastic and rubber.
Audi said it will now trial the fuel in laboratories and test engines.
“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’s Reiner Mangold said.
“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, ‘e-diesel’ and e-benzin.”
Global Bioenergies was founded in 2008, and says its primary goal is to develop a process converting renewable resources - such as sugar and other crops along with agricultural and forestry waste - into isobutene.
While this first batch of e-benzin is only for testing purposes, Global Bioenergies said it is building a demonstration plant that will begin producing larger quantities of e-fuel in 2016.
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