Audi cooks up ‘e-benzin,’ a renewable, synthetic gasoline substitute

audi e benzin synthetic fuel news details and more lab
Audi is quickly growing a reputation as the carmaker that also makes fuel.

It’s created an artificial natural gas substitute called “e-gas” and “e-diesel,” too. Now, it has a substance called “e-benzin” that’s meant to serve as a replacement for gasoline. Like the other experimental fuels, it’s made with an environmentally-friendly process.

Audi says e-benzin is produced without using any petroleum. It boasts an octane rating of 100, although that’s using the European measurement system. If e-benzin went on sale, its posted U.S. octane rating would be lower, but probably still comparably to the gasoline grades sold here.

The lack of sulfur and benzene helps the fuel burn more cleanly, which allows engines to use higher compression ratios for added efficiency, Audi claims.

Audi partnered with Global Bioenergies to produce e-benzin. The partner company operates a plant in France that harvests isobutene from renewable materials, and that forms the basis for e-benzin.

Audi e-benzin vial

A second partner, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes, refines the isobutene using hydrogen. Global Bioenergies plans to build a a pilot plant at the Fraunhofer Center to produce larger quantities of the fuel beginning in 2016.

Meanwhile, Audi will test e-benzin in the lab. Both the carmaker and Global Bioenergies also plan to modify the production process so that it ultimately requires only water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2), and sunlight.

Audi seems to be on a roll when it comes to synthetic fuels. Last fall, it unveiled “e-diesel,” a fossil-free fuel it claims was made using only water, electricity, and CO2 generated by organic waste.

It also began producing “e-gas” in 2013 using wind energy generated by turbines in the North Sea. The fuel was developed more or less specifically for the A3 g-tron hatchback, which is the only natural gas car Audi makes at the moment.

Audi says it not produces e-gas on an “industrial scale” for customers, but the market for natural gas vehicles is relatively limited. If the company can ramp up production of e-benzin or e-diesel, that could really be something.

Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Product Review

Toss the tripod, Olympus’ latest camera provides rock-steady stabilization

Olympus had claimed that 6.5 stops of shake reduction was a theoretical limit for image stabilization. Apparently, they found a way to bend the laws of physics, as the new OM-D E-M1X has up to 7.5 stops of stabilizing power, the best of any…
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Cars

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.
Cars

If Batman became a race car driver, he’d hit the track in the Vuhl 05RR

Mexican sports car Vuhl revealed the hardcore 05RR, a roadster that blurs the line between a track car and a street-legal car. The 05RR stands out with a design that looks right out of a video game and a 385-horsepower engine.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk offers to help dig CERN’s new particle collider tunnel

CERN plans to put the Large Hadron Collider to shame with its proposed much larger Future Circular Collider -- and Elon Musk wants to help. Because, you know, he's not busy enough.
Product Review

Cool tech and a great ride make the 2019 RAM 1500 the best light-duty pickup

The Ram isn’t the most powerful, spacious, or affordable of the light-duty, full-size pickup herd, but a modestly equipped version walks all over rivals in terms of ride quality, technology, and cabin comfort.