Successful test of synthetic renewable fuel in a Harley Shovelhead

The electric Harley Livewire (right) next to the Harley Shovelhead, powered by eco-fuel. Arturo Rivas Gonzalez/RIDE
The electric Harley Livewire (right) next to the Harley Shovelhead, powered by eco-fuel.

Within the project “refuels – rethinking fuels”, an 85 % renewable fuel was successfully developed and tested based on the bioliq® process operated at KIT. EBI ceb was responsible for conceptualizing and optimizing the different fuels as part of the project consortium. At the institute, we could draw on expertise in Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis and hydroprocessing for this purpose. Based on many years of experience in the hydroprocessing of heavy hydrocarbons, the by-products from FT synthesis and the bioliq® process could be precisely adapted to the gasoline standard DIN EN 228. Utilizing the by-products allows a significant increase in process yield while considerably reducing emission tendencies. During the subsequent blending, the individual streams were deftly mixed with others. In addition to the classic hydrocarbons, oxygenated components could also be included following the DIN EN 228. Because of the oxygen bound in the molecules, some oxygenates can significantly reduce particulate emissions through chemical effects.

In the laboratories of project partner Porsche, the fuel reached the high performance of Super 98 while emitting significantly fewer greenhouse gases. The results of the motor tests were presented as part of the 43rd International Vienna Motor Symposium. In addition to tests at well-known automobile manufacturers, the fuel was also able to prove itself in a Harley Shovelhead during a joyride through the Bavarian forest. Thorsten Ihlo refueled his more than 50-year-old motorcycle with the fuel developed at EBI ceb and impressively demonstrated the suitability of the fuel for "older" vehicles as well. The article was published in this year’s 14th "Motorrad ride" (

Based on the results obtained, the processes and fuel formulations will be further optimized to provide an entirely renewable fuel in the near future. In addition to the European Union’s ambitious target for complete greenhouse gas neutrality, the current crisis highlights the need for an independent supply of hydrocarbons for mobility, but also for the chemical industry.