Wednesday, August 18, 2010

new biofuel re-discovered : butanol

Butanol or (n-Butanol to be precise) is not a new chemical. It used to be distilled in the 1900's for industrial purposes. It turns out it could be a new biofuel


  • With 4 carbons, butanol has more energy than ethanol - 25% more energy per unit volume.
  • Butanol has a lower vapour pressure and higher flashpoint than ethanol, making it easier to store and safer to handle.
  • Butanol is not hygroscopic while ethanol attracts water. Ethanol has to be blended with petrol shortly before use. Butanol can be blended at a refinery without requiring modifications in blending facilities, storage tanks or retail station pumps.
  • Butanol can run in unmodified engines at any blend with petrol. Ethanol can only be blended up to 85% and requires engine modification.
  • Unlike ethanol, butanol may also be blended with diesel and biodiesel.
  • Butanol is less corrosive than ethanol and can be transported using existing infrastructures.

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Butanol can be made from non food crops. Here's an example, butanol distilled from leftovers of whiskey production.
link

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