Bio-butanol is increasingly being seen as the next big alternative fuel for powering vehicles. Its advantages over ethanol seem to be significant. Biobutanol can be used as a fuel for internal combustion engines, as a feedstock for the production of chemicals, and as a solvent. It can be blended with gasoline to create fuels with higher octane ratings and lower emissions. Additionally, biobutanol can be used as fuel for fuel cells, fuel for aircraft, and as fuel for marine vessels. Biobutanol has several benefits over traditional fuels. It has a higher energy content than ethanol, meaning it can provide more power for the same amount of fuel. It also has a higher-octane rating than gasoline, which can lead to improved engine performance. Additionally, biobutanol is less corrosive than ethanol, meaning it can be used in engines without the need for special modifications. Finally, biobutanol is a renewable fuel, meaning it can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and it appears that bio-butanol costs less and takes less time to refine than ethanol.
That said, ethanol has been the “go-to” alternative for significant reasons. Plant-based ethanol has increasingly grown in popularity in the U.S. as a renewable alternative to traditional gasoline. Given the amounts available, a slight reduction in gas mileage, and ethanol’s corrosiveness to some metals and rubber, it could damage a car’s engine if used purely in current gasoline engines. Therefore, what we currently see at gas stations is E85, or “flex-fuel”, an ethanol-gasoline blend containing anywhere from 51% to 83% ethanol, depending on geography and season.
As chemists continue to work on new technologies involving bio-butanol, many believe that this man-made butanol has the potential to completely replace traditional gasoline. Scientists are working to address some of the refining challenges associated with butanol, and in the near future, butanol may well emerge as a viable fuel alternative. Currently, methanol is also generally considered to be a better fuel than biobutanol for a few reasons. First, methanol has a higher energy density than biobutanol – i.e. it can store more energy per unit volume. This makes methanol more efficient for transportation and storage. Additionally, methanol is currently more easily blended with gasoline, making it easier to use in the existing infrastructure. Currently, methanol is also more easily produced from biomass than biobutanol.
Lee Enterprises Consulting (LEC), the world’s largest bioeconomy consulting group, with 150+ independent experts worldwide, has many experts who can help bring butanol projects to the marketplace. We have biobutanol consultants and experts that can assist with emerging technologies and promising developments in butanol and scores of other biotechnologies. Please take a look at our experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For larger projects, we specialize in putting together full-service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.