Butanol

The benefits of biobutanol are similar to the benefits of ethanol. It can be produced domestically from a variety of homegrown feedstocks while creating U.S. jobs. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced because carbon dioxide captured when the feedstock crops are grown balances carbon dioxide released when biobutanol is burned.

There are a number of things that make butanol a potential biofuel for the future:

  • Butanol is less corrosive than ethanol and can be burned in vehicles with no modifications needed.
  • Is less susceptible to separation in the presence of water than ethanol/gasoline blends, and therefore allows it to use the industry’s existing distribution infrastructure without requiring modifications in blending facilities, storage tanks or retail station pumps.
  • Its energy density is only 10 to 20% lower than gasoline’s.
  • It is compatible with the current gasoline distribution infrastructure and would not require new or modified pipelines, blending facilities, storage tanks, or retail station pumps.
  • It is compatible with ethanol blending and can improve the blending of ethanol with gasoline.
  • It can be produced using existing ethanol production facilities with relatively minor modifications.

While butanol has great potential as a renewable transportation fuel, energy policy and research has focused on ethanol. Future investments to quantify engine performance, conversion efficiency, greenhouse gas balance and an evaluation of feedstock potential is necessary.