When it comes to CleanTech, Audi can’t help but choose “Made in France”

Jan 30, 2014
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France’s Global Bioenergies, a rising star in the renewable energy space, has just announced a milestone deal with German automaker Audi. Global Bioenergies has started to build a name for themselves through their work on transforming renewable resources into light olefins, namely the foundation of the petrochemical industry. Their work with Audi will go through 2016 and will focus in on the startup’s advanced program, specifically, the production of bio-isobutene from sugars, which is in turn transformed into isooctane, the ‘gold standard’ for gasoline engines.

Although existing alternatives to traditional petrol such as ethanol have been a priority in recent years, there’s been increasing concern from consumers about motor corrosion which can be brought on by the high-levels of oxygen often contain in alternative energy sources such as ethanol. Thus, the reason that Audi is investing 22 billion euros in innovative, which includes actively looking for partners capable of delivering new, innovative sustainable energy sources.

The financial terms of the deal haven’t been specified, but the automaker does have the option to take up to a 2% stake in Global Bioenergies. Though they are constrained from entering into partnership with another automaker, the company is looking for other potential partners to help them develop in other areas. A big priority area for them, though lower in volume than the biofuel part of their business, is their chemistry business lines which in light of their better profitability, are actually an important growth area for the company.