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Renewable Chemicals

The chemical industry is slowly replacing fossil-derived chemicals by chemicals made from renewable resources such as wood, algae, and agricultural waste.  These renewable chemicals can be one-for-one, identical replacement materials, or in some cases they are new and improved versions of the chemicals they replace. Ethyl alcohol (ethanol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol) has been produced […]

Isobutanol: Now on the Radar for USA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened a comment period for the registration of the use of Isobutanol in gasoline.  Why is this important?  Because since the states banning of the use of MTBE and other ethers in underground tanks, this is the only oxygenate, other than ethanol, allowed to be used in commerce.  This […]

Opportunities to Transition Ethanol Facilities to Biochemical Refineries

By Daniel Lane, Lee Enterprises Consulting The US commercial petroleum industry started with the drilling by retired railroad conductor Edwin Drake of a well near Titusville, PA in 1859. Drake’s well sparked an oil boom and over the next couple of years, and US petroleum production grew rapidly. By 1865, the first successful oil pipeline was […]

Isobutanol: A New Product from Revamped Ethanol Plants

Rapid depletion and environmental aspects of fossil fuels, coupled with highly volatile market prices have made the quest for alternative fuels a top-priority. Over the past two decades, several alternatives to liquid fuels have been investigated, which have the potential either to completely replace the petroleum-derived fuels in some sectors or be blended with petroleum-based […]

Hot Prospects for Chemicals from Biomass

By Dr. Terry Mazanec and Dr. Kapil Lokare A major theme of 21st Century industrial development will be replacement of fossil resources by renewable resources in the production of fuels and chemicals.  Due to their massive scale and cost, the rate of displacing fossil facilities will necessarily be evolutionary rather than precipitous.  The most likely […]

Ethanol, Isobutanol and the Marine Industry

In 1976 the fuel industry had a massive changeover from leaded to unleaded fuels.  In 2005, the gasoline industry had another changeover from MTBE and other ethers to Ethanol.  With every change, somebody was unhappy.  In 2015, the EPA proposed to increase the blend rate of ethanol from 10% by volume to 15%.  A whole category […]