Just a couple of weeks away from the preparation of the first batch of synthetic diesel fuel produced from carbon dioxide and water, Audi announced the creation of the so-called "e-benzin"- another synthetic, clean-burning and petroleum-free type of fuel.
Created with the assistance of Global Bioenergies, the e-benzin is produced without the use of petroleum. The fuel contains also no sulfur and benzene which means it burns "very cleanly." More importantly, it is "100-percent iso-octane and therefore has an outstanding octane rating of RON 100." As this is a high-grade fuel for vehicles, it can be used in very high compression ratio engines to enhance the thermal efficiency.
The fuel’s base material is isobutene, which is produced by Global Bioenergies at its pilot plant in Pomacle, France. The isobutene is made from renewable raw materials rather than the usual petroleum. Audi and Global Bioenergies hope to tweak the production process in the future so that biomass is no longer required and e-benzin can be created using only water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and sunlight.
As part of its next step, the company is building a new demonstration plant in Germany, similar to the one pictured above. The facility will be 10 times larger than the one in France, and able able to produce 100 tons (90.7 tonnes) of isooctane and high purity isobutane per year as soon as 2016.