Biobutanol

 

Biobutanol is a liquid alcohol fuel that can be used in today's gasoline-powered internal combustion engines.  Biobutanol is butanol produced from biomass feedstocks.[1]  Butanol's primary use is as an industrial solvent in products such as lacquers and enamels.  However, the properties of biobutanol make it highly amenable to blending with gasoline.  It is also compatible with ethanol blending and can improve the blending of ethanol with gasoline.  The energy content of biobutanol is 10 to 20% lower than that of gasoline.  Biobutanol proponents claim that today's vehicles can be fueled with high concentrations of biobutanol, up to 85%, with minor or no vehicle modifications, although testing of this claim has been limited.[2]

No infrastructure for fueling vehicles with biobutanol currently exists.  However, because biobutanol does not cause the same issues with corrosion or water contamination as ethanol does, it is likely that biobutanol would be able to be distributed through the existing gasoline infrastructure, including pipeline transport.[3]


[1] Biomass is defined as all plants and plant-derived material such as but not limited to, agricultural and forestry residues, municipal solid wastes, industrial wastes, and terrestrial and aquatic crops grown solely for energy purposes. (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/biomass_basics_faqs.html), (May 23, 2013).

[2] U.S. Department of Energy, What is Biobutanol, http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/emerging_biobutanol_what_is.html, (May 23, 2013).

[3] U.S. Department of Energy, Biobutanol Distribution,, http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/emerging_biobutanol_distribution.html, (May 23, 2013