- Butanol is a 4-carbon
alcohol (butyl alcohol).
- Biobutanol is butanol
produced from biomass feedstocks.
- Biobutanol, an
advanced biofuel, offers a number of advantages and can help accelerate
biofuel adoption in countries around the world.
- Biobutanol also can
be burned in higher concentrations, possibly up to 100%, without having
to modify vehicle engines.
- Biobutanol is an
alcohol that can be produced through processing of domestically grown
crops, such as corn and sugar beets, and other biomass, such as
fast-growing grasses and agricultural waste products.
- Biobutanol production
is currently more expensive than ethanol so it has not been
commercialized on a large scale.
- The UK's first
ethanol femantation facility is converted to produce 30,000 tonnes
annually of biobutanol made from sugar beets.
- Production of
biobutanol is similar to ethanol and uses similar feedstocks, existing
ethanol capacity can be retrofitted to produce biobutanol.
- Biobutanol's primary
use is as an industrial solvent in products such as lacquers and
- Biobutanol is a
liquid alcohol fuel that can be used in today's gasoline-powered
internal combustion engines.
- Biobutanol is also
compatible with ethanol blending and can improve the blending of ethanol
- Greenhouse gas
emissions are reduced because carbon dioxide captured when the feedstock
crops are grown balances carbon dioxide released when biobutanol is
- Biobutanol plants
operated in numerous countries, including the United States, UK, China,
Russia, South Africa and India, during the first two World Wars.
- The growth of the
petroleum industry and the cheaper cost of producing butanol from
petroleum products rather than renewable feedstocks made the biobased
butanol plant obsolete.
- Compared to ethanol,
biobutanol is less volatile, not sensitive to water, less hazardous to
handle, less flammable, has a slightly higher octane
number, and can be mixed with gasoline in any proportion. However, its
high production costs - resulting in an average cost of $3.75/gal - have
prevented its widespread use as a fuel.
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