Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions with the First Petroleum-Free Fuel Made from Plants

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions with the First Synthetic Petroleum-Free Fuel Made from Plants

Audi, a German luxury automobile manufacturer, is working with French company Global Bioenergies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the first petroleum-free gas made from plants. The clean burning fuel called e-benzin, is made from extracting glucose from corn. The company has started a pilot program to produce gaseous isobutane from renewable biomass sugars fermented from corn.

According to gizmag, the next step in the process “was to run the material through a conditioning and purification process, allowing it to be collected and stored in liquid form under pressure. Some of it was then sent to Germany to be converted into isooctane fuel, creating a pure, 100 octane gasoline.”

While the petroleum-free product currently contains corn, Audi wants to streamline the process further so that the product can be made with just water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and sunlight.

IFL Science reports, “Audi has ambitions to make the technique even less wasteful by eventually getting rid of the need for corn. They want to modify the process so that it only uses water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and sunlight. This is a thoughtful aim for the future as the risk with creating plant-derived biofuels is the increased crop demand and the possibility of people going hungry at an engine’s expense.”

“We’re thinking we’re bringing green-ness to a field that desperately needs green-ness,” Rick Bockrath, vice president for chemical engineering at Global Bioenergies said to gizmag. “It’s basically how we’re moving away from an oil-based economy towards something that has a renewable, sustainable future to it.”

The fuel is already used to improve fuel quality but soon it could be used as a stand-alone fuel. Audi hopes to use the fuel in its luxury fleet and be the first automobile company to test out the clean burning fuel for widespread use. Isobutan gas can also be used to make plastics and refrigerator systems as well as other products. Global Bioenergies says that the gas could be produced at a commercial level in the very near future.

Audi recently released the highly efficient diesel version of the Audi Q7. The company claims that the vehicles are “the most fuel-efficient automobiles in their segment.” But even still, the company has ambitions of even more efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using a fuel that is not only efficient, but also completely free of emissions.

It’s welcomed technology considering that in order to effectively reduce global warming we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, we must reduce emissions by 70 percent in order to stabilize rising temperatures and the rising sea levels, super storms, water shortages, heat waves and other impacts that they will have on our society as a whole.

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Image of a gas tank fueled by renewable gas from Shutterstock