Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether or ETBE is an oxygenated fuel that can be blended with gasoline to make it burn more cleanly and thus improve overall air quality. ETBE is produced by mixing ethanol and isobutylene and reacting them with heat over a catalyst. ETBE, because of its ethanol base, has good blending properties for both octane improvement and motor fuel volatility control

ETBE attains the overall goals of reducing the health impacts of motor fuel because it can utilize excess butanes in the refining industry resulting from the phase-out of lead. These butanes can be converted to isobutylene which, when combined with ethanol, produce an environmentally superior motor fuel.

The ETBE and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) processes are similar although reaction rates and operating conditions vary. A number of MTBE units in Europe have converted to use fuel ethanol feedstock for ETBE production in order to meet Biofuels specifications.  The Commission Green Paper “Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply” sets the objective of 20% substitution of conventional fuels by alternative fuels in the road transport sector by the year 2020.  These specifications dictate that all member states of the European Union will reach targets of biofuels in the energy component of all petrol and diesel for transport purposes placed on their markets.  These targets were set at 2% by 31 December 2005 and 5.75% by 31 December 2010 so far.  By 31 December 2006 at the latest, and every two years thereafter, the Commission shall draw up an evaluation report for the European Parliament and for the Council on the progress make in the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels in the Member States.

ICIS pricing quotes ETBE in Europe

To find out more Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Methodology September 2013

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