Ethers, particularly methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and tertio amyl methyl ether (TAME), have long been used in reformulated gasoline owing to their attractive blending and engine burning characteristics. Although in North America ethers are being removed gradually from the gasoline pools, they remain additives of choice in other regions not having ground water contamination issues.
Another approach now viewed as an option for sustainable development is to add ethanol to gasoline pools. However, direct blending of ethanol in the gasoline pool gives rise to potential problems such as increased RVP, volume reduction, phase separation and logistics (mixing at terminals). Indirect incorporation of ethanol via the etherification routes producing ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) or tertio amyl ethyl ether (TAEE) is an interesting option for sustainable gasoline production as these materials boast excellent blending and engine burning properties. Pioneered by IFPEN in the 1990s, these processes complement Axens’ technology strategy for providing high quality reformulated and renewable fuels.