As automakers make the shift towards electrification and carbon neutrality, new cars solely powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) are gradually becoming a thing of the past. But despite this growing change, there are still those that believe that emissions of ICEs can be improved further.

Take for example Bosch, Volkswagen, and Shell, who have recently been working on a new type of fuel that they claim is cleaner and emits lesser carbon emissions compared to all current fuels sold today. It's called 'Blue Gasoline', and it could become the future fuel source of every gasoline-powered car.

According to the three companies, Blue Gasoline is composed of 33% renewables from biomass-based Naptha and ethanol. Naptha (AKA: tall oil) is a by-product of the production of pulp in paper and has been certified to be renewable by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system.

This translates to cleaner emissions as it results in a 20% reduction in carbon emissions per kilometer. To prove this, Volkswagen has been running a fleet of 1,000 Golfs that are powered by Blue Gasoline. Assuming all cars achieve an annual mileage of 10,000 km each, Volkswagen says this alone could save more than 230 metric tons of CO2 per year.

“On the road to climate-friendly mobility, we must ensure we don’t leave any technical opportunities untapped, starting with electromobility and ending with renewable fuels. Every bit of CO₂ we save can help us achieve our climate targets,” said Dr. Uwe Gackstatter, president of Bosch Powertrain Solutions.

VW, Bosch, Shell co-developing new clean fuel called Blue Gasoline image

With a cleaner-burning fuel, it could complement hybrid-powered vehicles or new cars that still use ICEs. Bosch even claims that Blue Gasoline can be used in all new and existing vehicles that can run on ethanol-blended fuel. But despite its potential to replace electrification, Bosch reiterates that it will serve to only help hybrid vehicles and new/existing vehicles that still run on ICEs alone.

In order to promote its use, however, Bosch suggests focusing on renewable biomass and synthetic fuel components that can be blended into regular fuel in higher proportions. That way, it can be used alongside existing fuel standards and can be stored for longer periods of time without going stale.

“Blue Gasoline is another building block in the effective reduction of CO₂ emissions from the vehicle fleet. Blue Gasoline’s high storage stability makes the fuel particularly suitable for use in plug-in hybrid vehicles. In the future, the expansion of the charging infrastructure and larger batteries will mean that these vehicles predominantly run on electrical power, and thus that fuel may remain in the fuel tank for longer periods of time," said Sebastian Willmann, head of Internal Combustion Engine Development at Volkswagen

With Blue Gasoline seemingly serving as the next generation of fuel for cars, tomorrow's ICE vehicles could be as clean as hybrids. But can this be used on older vehicles? Sadly, that might not be the case as ethanol-blended fuel may not be compatible with older engines/fuel systems. When not in use for long periods of time, it can cause damage to the fuel tank, fuel lines, and even the engine.

If Bosch somehow finds a way to make it work on classic cars, then it could ultimately replace standard fuels currently in the market today.