Biobutonal: A Superior, Renewable Substitute for Gasoline
Drivers may soon have a third option for fuel produced from plants: biobutanol. Butanol from petroleum has been used for decades as an industrial solvent, but two companies say they are close to commercializing a process for creating the fuel from corn, sugar beets, or even grasses. BP and Dupont today announced that they will begin selling Biobutanol in the United Kingdom next year. The companies co-developed a fuel that can be combined with gasoline and ethanol. Biobutanol is superior to ethanol because it has a higher energy value and is less water soluble and evaporative than ethanol, so it is safe to transport via existing gasoline pipelines.
BP says Biobutanol is complementary to ethanol. Initially the fuel will be produced from sugar beets, but the companies are also developing cellulosic materials as well. Here in the U.S., company Environmental Energy claims it has patents on similar technology, but it calls the fuel butanol. EEI says it is building a prototype production plant, and that its fuel can be used as a 100 percent gasoline replacement.