The German car manufacturer, Audi, has reached a milestone in its drive to make motoring more environmentally friendly after it teamed up with a French bio technology company to produce a fuel that isn’t dependent on fossil fuels and which produces fewer pollutants than traditional fuel.
Global Bioenergies successfully tested the renewable petrol in an Audi A4 car on a race track in France this month, powered by fuel comprising 34% of biofuel derived from fermented plants – a record, says the bio company.
Speaking at the launch, Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies, said that the new fuel offered benefits over “today’s reference biofuel”, ethanol, which had to be limited to 10% before any car running the fuel had to be modified. The renewable petrol the company had developed requires no such modifications to cars using it. “The biofuels we produce would not only have a positive effect on CO2 emissions but also on fine particles, which would then have a global and local impact on people’s health,” said Delcourt.
Completely free of sulphur and the compound linked to adverse health effects, benzene, Global Bioenergies produces the fuel by first producing gaseous isobutene before then adding hydrogen to transform it into isooctane – a process that the company says it will be able to replicate on an “industrial scale” from 2021. In highlighting the potential of the fuel that could help “decarbonise the transport sector”, @Audi said that if a vehicle used only this biofuel from day one of rolling off the production line, it would produce 60% less CO2 emissions over the course of its life than if it had been powered by traditional petrol.
Addressing the progress that had been made in the number of electric cars appearing on the world’s roads, Delcourt said that there was still a huge requirement for sustainable fuel. “We know that [electric cars] won’t go beyond 20, 30 maybe 40% of the automobile market and for the remaining 60-70% of cars that will remain we must find solutions,” he said. The Swedish car maker, Volvo, has said that from 2019 it would become the first traditional car maker to use electric motors across its range, a step that would massively reduce its reliance on internal combustion engines.
In other news for Global Bioenergies (@GlobalBioenergi), the French company announced in February that it had produced what it said was the first bottles of gas bottles containing a bio-gas produced from plants. Each bottle contains around 15% of bio-isobutene that can reduce emissions by up to 40%.
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