A pure synthetic fuel with excellent anti-knock properties. It joins e-gas, already available on the market, and e-diesel, whose pilot production plant is currently being built.
Audi is continuing to pursue its e-fuels strategy developing clean fuels made from renewable sources.The new e-benzin, produced together with Global Bioenergies S.A., based in Leuna (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) joins the already existing e-gas and e-diesel. For the first time, alongside the company’s partners in the project, 60 litres of fuel have been produced from renewable sources, a sufficient quantity for engine testing.
What are the advantages of e-benzin?
Like all Audi e-fuels, the e-benzin is not dependent on crude oil, is compatible with existing infrastructure and offers the prospect of a closed carbon cycle. In other words, it does not lead to the generation of further CO2 beyond that used to produce it.
How is it made?
Audi e-benzin is substantially a liquid isooctane, which is currently produced from biomass in a two-step process. In the first step, Global Bioenergies produces gaseous isobutene (C4H8). In the second step, the Fraunhofer Centre for Chemical Biotechnological Processes (CBP) in Leuna uses additional hydrogen to transform it into isooctane (C8H18).
Is biomass required to produce it?
Over the medium term, the project partners aim to modify the production process so that it will not require biomass. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced from renewable sources should thus be sufficient source materials.
Why is it “cleaner”?
Being free of sulphur and benzene, burning isooctane produces a particularly low level of pollutants.
Can it be used in traditional engines?
Audi engineers are currently studying the performance and emission behaviour of e-benzin when used in a traditional engine. Their analyses confirm its characteristics as a high-purity synthetic fuel, with very good anti-knock properties. Thanks to this, Audi could be able to develop engines with even higher compression ratios, thus boosting efficiency.
Are other e-fuels already on the market?
Since 2013, Audi has been offering renewable Audi e-gas on the market; it originates in part from the company’s own power-to-gas plant in Werlte (Lower Saxony). Customers can fill up their Audi g-tron model at any CNG filling station and pay the regular price for it. Audi e-diesel, on the other hand, is not yet available on the market, but the brand with the four rings is currently planning production capacity in Laufenburg, in the Swiss canton of Aargau. Together with partners Ineratec GmbH and Energiedienst Holding AG, a new pilot plant will produce around 400,000 litres of Audi e-diesel per year, with hydroelectric power as the sole energy supply required for this for the first time ever.
Source: AUDI AG