- Can be made from natural sugar or starch including waste materials.
- Costs less than ethanol.
- Has 92% of the energy content of gasoline.
- Mixes well with gasoline or ethanol.
- Evaporates more slowly than either gasoline or ethanol.
- Can be used in place of gasoline with no engine or fuel system changes.
- Makes usable hydrogen as a by product.
- Higher energy content (110,000 Btu’s per gallon for butanol vs. 84,000 Btu per gallon for ethanol). Gasoline contains about 115,000 Btu’s per gallon.
- Butanol is six times less “evaporative” than ethanol and 13.5 times less evaporative than gasoline, making it safer to use as an oxygenate.
- Butanol can be shipped through existing fuel pipelines where ethanol must be transported via rail, barge or truck.
- Butanol can be used as a replacement for gasoline gallon for gallon e.g. 100%, or any other percentage. Ethanol can only be used as an additive to gasoline up to about 85% and then only after significant modifications to the engine. Worldwide 10% ethanol blends predominate.
Its now has trade names of BioButanol, Butyl-Fuel, Butafuel and others.
Like ethanol, it is an alcohol that can be made from corn. It can also be made, at lower cost, from other raw materials.
Butanol is produced efficiently from sugar or starch by anaerobic fermentation. As example, it can use corn, grain, potatoes, sugar beets, grass, leaves, trees, kudzu or agricultural waste.
A recent technology breakthrough, made in Ohio, allows butanol to be made for as little as 85¢ a gallon from waste materials.
In this country, there is a pilot plant under construction to make butanol from milk sugar using waste from making cheese. It solves a waste disposal problem for cheese makers and makes fuel that can replace gasoline gallon for gallon.
In Great Britain, DuPont and BP are working together to convert an ethanol plant to butanol production. They will be using sugar beets as the raw material.
Does it really work as a motor fuel? Yes, it was demonstrated during the summer of 2005. A stock 1992 Buick Park Avenue was driven for 10,000 miles around the USA using 100% Butanol as fuel. There were no problems. The was still running strong at the end of the tour.
The Buick was tested for pollution emissions by 10 of the states that it visited. It passed the tests in all 10 states. Its tail pipe emissions were much cleaner than any gasoline fueled engine.
In actual driving conditions, butanol has a strong power and torque content. Drivers will use a lighter foot on the accelerator and hold a higher gear longer.
The Buick had mileage checks that ranged from 24 to 28 mpg on butanol. The same car had averaged 22 mpg using gasoline. So it has got higher efficinecy by 10-30%.
Butanol is also being evaluated for use in Bio Diesel mixes and as a fuel for jet aircraft.
You will be hearing more about the bio butanol as development continues. It has the potential of reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. In addition, it can reduce the stress on the environment.