MTBE and ETBE

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is an effective, non-toxic and high-octane component that is added to gasoline. Additives such as MTBE enable the production of high-octane petrol using base gasoline.

The introduction of MTBE into petrol in the amount of 10-15% by volume significantly raises the antiknock rating of petrols, improves the economic and power characteristics of engines and reduces harmful emissions (carbon monoxide by 15-30%, hydrocarbons by 7-8%). The introduction of this additive is especially effective for straight-run petrols and catalytic cracking petrols.

MTBE is produced by using isobutylene or a butane-butylene fraction obtained from the reforming stage at refinery and methanol in the presence of acid catalysts.

Ethyl-tert-butyl ether (ETBE) is a simple ether. Its chemical properties are typical for this class of compounds but, unlike many other simple ethers, it does not form peroxide compounds, which significantly enhances the safety of its storage and use. During heating it can decompose into isobutylene and ethyl alcohol. The speed of the decomposing increases in the presence of acid catalysts. ETBE has a high research octane number – 109-113.

The advantage of ETBE over MTBE is that ethyl alcohol is used to produce ETBE, which is obtained from a renewable, plant-based raw material. ETBE is a so-called oxygenic additive for gasoline. Its use decreases the volatility of the petrol mixture and reduces the carbon monoxide content in exhaust gases.

The conditions and equipment for obtaining ETBE are the same as for MTBE. Isobutylene and ethyl alcohol are synthesized at a temperature lower than 100°C and a pressure of 1-2 MPa in the presence of acid catalysts.

ZAVKOM possesses latest technologies for the production of octane booster additives. We are well placed to offer the turnkey construction of MTBE and ETBE production plants in accordance with customer requests, our R&D centre designs cost-effective and advanced engineering solutions.

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