Fuel additives such as isooctane have so far been produced from mineral oil. Commissioned by the French-German company Global Bioenergies, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna will soon be producing biobased additives for gasoline. The source is bio-isobutene, which is obtained biotechnically from sugar.
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 ressources.
Pilot plants for the chemical conversion and processing of fuels and fuel additives: High-pressure flow tube reactor.
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.
Chemical conversion of isobutene to isooctane
In fact, isooctane has been synthesized from isobutene for years in the chemical industry. “The challenge is now to find out how the established chemical processes can be transferred to the biobased source material,” says Dr. Daniela Pufky-Heinrich, who is heading the project at Fraunhofer CBP. “Substances could enter the product, for example via the plant-based raw material and the biotechnical production process; these substances could act as a catalyst poison or interfere with the combustion process in the engine,” the chemist points out.
That is why it is important to design all the separate steps in the process with a view to a cost-effective overall process, from the sugar by way of the biobased isobutene through to the fuel additive. “This means that we have to investigate every single parameter and, if necessary, modify each one, for example our purification strategy for the intermediates and the end product,” says Pufky-Heinrich.
Then it is a question of scaling up the optimized overall process from the lab via the technical testing stage to the pilot scale. “Parallel to this, we will supply sample quantities of approx. 100 kilograms for application testing in the automotive and fuel industry,” says Pufky-Heinrich.
The Fraunhofer researchers also intend to examine various procedures for the chemical production of ETBE, which is synthesized from biobased isobutene and ethanol. This gasoline additive is first produced from batches of the biotechnological isobutene production from the Global Bioenergies pilot plant in Pomacle, France.
The hydrothermal reactor units available in the Chemical Process Group at Fraunhofer CBP will be used for the chemical conversion; the thermal treatment units are used for the subsequent purification.
Dr. Claudia Vorbeck | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences