Global Bioenergies making headway with bio-based isooctane and ETBE

August 11, 2016 |

In France, in order to prevent the air-fuel mixture in the gasoline engine from self-igniting prematurely, additives are included with the fuel to increase the knock resistance. In a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) the French-German company Global Bioenergies now aims to produce two such additives, isooctane and ETBE (ethyl-tert-butyl ether), for the first time from purely renewable resources. The Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna will develop and validate the processes for Global Bioenergies using the equipment available at CBP through to industrial scale.

The raw material for the biobased fuel additives is biobased isobutene, a hydrocarbon, from which plastics and elastomers can also be synthesized. From autumn 2016 it will be produced in a pre-industrial pilot plant, which Global Bioenergies have installed at Fraunhofer CBP over the past few months. The plant is the first worldwide to produce isobutene in a purely biotechnical process from sugars, which can be obtained from different renewable sources such as agricultural biomass and forestry residues. In a 5.000-liter fermenter bacteria convert such sugar into the gaseous hydrocarbon.

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Category: Research

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