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Biobutanol

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Our Biobutanol, also known as n-butanol or butyl alcohol, can be produced through the anaerobic fermentation of corn or biomass instead of traditional chemical processes from petroleum-based feedstock.

We view Biobutanol as both an industrial solvent and a Biofuel:

Biobutanol as Industrial Solvent

Butanol is a widely used industrial chemical, primarily as an industrial solvent. Other applications for butanol include plasticizers, resins, paints, coatings, chemical intermediates for herbicides and pharmaceuticals and food grade extractants.

We introduced biobutanol into the China market in 2008 to address the growing China demand for butanol as an industrial solvent and as a chemical intermediate. We currently offer biobutanol from corn, and are actively working on commercializing biomass as the feedstock.

Biobutanol as Biofuel

Beyond its traditional industrial applications, butanol is a promising biofuel candidate with more desireable fuel.

Similar to ethanol, butanol can be used as a gasoline blendstock. Butanol’s air-fuel ratio and energy content are higher than ethanol’s, allowing butanol to be mixed in higher ratios with gasoline as a drop-in car fuel blendstock. Butanol is less hygroscopic, or water absorbant, than ethanol. As a result, butanol is less corrosive than ethanol as a gasoline blendstock and may be transported using existing oil infrastructure including pipelines and tankers. Butanol has lower vapor pressure than ethanol, making it a more viable fuel blendstock than ethanol in warmer regions where evaporative loss poses storage and logistics issues for ethanol.

The following table summarizes key properties of butanol and ethanol relevant to their application as gasoline blendstock:

Properties

Butanol

Ethanol

Air to fuel mixture 11.1 9
Energy content 110 kBtu/gallon 78 kBtu/gallon
Corrosive solvent No Yes
Transportation and distribution Existing distribution infrastructure Separate transportation distribution
Vapor pressure 0.33 psi 2 psi
Standard car engine Higher blending concentration Lower blending concentration