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ethyl tertiary butyl ether

Product name ethyl tertiary butyl ether
Synonyms tert-butyl ethyl ether
GOST no data
CAS 637-92-3

Ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) is a clear, colorless, volatile, flammable liquid with a weak ether odor. It is almost insoluble in water, but forms an azeotrope mixture with it. ETBE is miscible in most organic solvents such as aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, ethanol, methanol, diethyl ether, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride.

ETBE is an organic compound belonging to a large group of compounds called ethers. Its chemical properties are typical of ethers, but in contrast to most other ethers it not form peroxides. It makes ETBE safe in storage, transportaion and usage. At high temperature it decomposes releasing isobutylene (isobutene) and ethanol. The rate of decomposition increases in the presence of acidic additives.

ETBE is an oxygenated fuel that can be mixed with gasoline to make it burn more cleanly. It have an excellent octane blending value. Its octane number determined as a simple average between research and motor methods ranges in 109-113. Similar value for widely used methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is 106-110. ETBE attains the overall goals of reducing the health impacts of motor fuel because it can utilize excess butanes in the refining industry resulting from the phase-out of lead. These butanes can be catalytically converted to isobutylene which, when combined with ethyl alcohol, give an environmentally superior high octane motor fuel. On the other hand ethanol could become a cost competitive feedstock for fuel additives currently manufactured with methanol, because of methanol is currently dependent on natural gas as a raw material. Ethanol based on grain and other biomass feedstocks is renewable as well as being available worldwide.

Ethyl tert-butyl ether toxicity is low. It is comparable with the same of unleaded gasoline.


The MTBE and ETBE preparation processes are similar although reaction rates and operating conditions vary. Ethanol and isobutylene are combined at 1-2MPa at the temperature below 100°C in the presence of acid catalysts:

Ethyl tert-butyl preparation from isobutylene and ethanol


ETBE is mainly used as an oxygenate fuel additive in the production of gasoline from crude oil. ETBE actually lowers gasoline volatility even when blended in low volatility summer grade reformulated gasoline. It allows to reduce aromatic and/or olefin content of motor fuel which also used as a fuel additives.

Manufacturer(s) no data
Chemical structure of ethyl tertiary butyl ether

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