Mercedes-Benz, chemical company Clariant and biofuel producer Haltermann are testing a vehicle fleet in Germany powered by fuel that contains 20 percent cellulosic ethanol (E20).
Clariant’s sunliquid process converts wheat straw into cellulosic ethanol. Haltermann then mixes the cellulosic ethanol with conventional fuel components to form the new E20 fuel. The fuel has a high octane number (RON) of over 100.
The companies say the fleet test will show the biofuel is ready for market and the 20 percent ethanol fuel is compatible with vehicles.
Over the next twelve months, test fleet vehicles can be refilled with the new fuel at a gas station on the Mercedes-Benz site in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. The cellulosic ethanol comes from Clariant’s sunliquid demonstration plant in Straubing, where approximately 4,500 tons of agricultural residues such as grain straw or corn stover are converted into cellulosic ethanol each year. At the Haltermann plant in Hamburg the bioethanol is mixed with selected components to form the fuel, the specifications of which reflect potential European E20 fuel quality.
Most gasoline sold in the US today is E10. Blending in more ethanol — such as E15 or E20 — renders the fuel “incompatible with today’s engines, vehicles and the multi-billion dollar infrastructure” in the US, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute say.