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Better Than Ethanol

Mon, 03/09/2009 - 12:32pm

MENLO PARK, Calif.-- (BUSINESS WIRE) — Mar. 09, 2009-- Biobutanol has a number of important advantages as a fuel over ethanol. It has a higher energy value and is more hydrophobic so it can be transported via existing pipelines within the petroleum based fuel infrastructure.Biobutanol can also be added to gasoline at a higher level without engine modification, and it is believed to have application in both diesel and gasoline blends. Today, SRI Consulting (SRIC) published its new Biobutanol report, providing comprehensive results on the technological and economic aspects of producing biobutanol via two new processes.

The first process evaluated is a modification of the established acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation developed by the University of Illinois. The second process is based on the production of isobutanol (2-methyl-1-propanol) by a proposed solvent-tolerant microorganism with a proprietary recovery process based on conversion of a corn dry mill. Neither process is commercial but is in the process demonstration phase. For a benchmark, the report evaluates ethanol production by corn dry milling.

Ronald Bray, co-author and SRIC Senior Consultant commented "Due to the superior energy density of biobutanol and despite higher capital costs, the relative costs on an energy basis ($/Btu) for biobutanol is equal to or slighter better than ethanol @ $2.28/gal., if the projected performance in the simulation can be met."

RJ Chang, SRIC's Process Economics Program (PEP) Director, commented,"It is estimated that over 100 companies are involved with the development of various types of phase II biofuels such as biobutanol, including algae based feedstocks, hydrocarbons from sugar and starch and various molecules from lignocellulosic feedstocks." Mr Chang continued, "Over 10% of these companies surveyed for the report are planning to produce biobutanol."

SRIC's 200 page Biobutanol reportprovides in-depth process technology, plant designs, costs and flow diagrams and is essential information for technical and business managers involved in energy production.

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