What Does the Future of MTBE Looks Like?
Environmental impact is one of the most critical criteria for the selection of fuel additives for an ICE (internal combustion engine). MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), a well-known fuel additive (helps in burning gasoline completely and reducing harmful emissions from the tailpipe) is facing issues as it poses a serious risk of water contamination. Instead, ethanol is becoming more popular as it is more environmentally friendly and easily available. However, there could be a slight compromise in performance. Recently, at ChemBizR, we witnessed the closure of MTBE production sites. Suppliers like Braskem are converting the sites to produce ETBE (ethyl tertiary-butyl ether) because of ease.
The use of ethanol differs between developed and developing economies because the price of ethanol is on the higher side when it comes to the latter. This can delay the adoption of ethanol in developing countries, and they might still prefer MTBE.
Overall, the demand for MTBE is expected to fall significantly (in the 2040s) due to rising EV penetration, which will reduce demand for gasoline and additives (MTBE).