Reformulation of Gasoline To Replace Aromatics by Biomass-Derived Alkyl Levulinates

In the search for a “green gasoline”, a new reformulation strategy, having no or reduced amount of aromatics, is proposed. Biomass-derived alkyl levulinates (ALs) are prospected as oxygenated additives as well as blending components to circumvent the use of aromatics and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in gasoline. By utilizing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, the thermophysical and dynamical behavior of gasoline blends with four alkyl levulinates, viz. methyl levulinate (ML), ethyl levulinate (EL), propyl levulinate (PL), and butyl levulinate (BL), was scrutinized and compared with those of MTBE–gasoline mixtures. It is shown that, at 300 K and 1 atm, ALs in conventional gasoline can be used for reformulation with amounts up to 18 mol % while maintaining the density, viscosity, and compressibility within the recommended limits. However, this amount can be further increased to 35 mol % by modification of aromatic content. Among the studied oxygenates, BL was observed to have the lowest miscibility in water as compared to other ALs studied. The methodology may be applied to study similar biomass-derived oxygenates for their applicability as a fuel additive or blend.