Could Biobutanol Beat Cellulosic to Market?

Cindy Zimmerman

BiobutanolDuPont and BP are working to bring a next generation biofuel to market on a commercial scale and officials are optimistic that it might get there before cellulosic ethanol.

Philip NewIn an interview with Ethanol Statistics, Philip New, President of BP Biofuels, said “he wants to avoid setting expectations that are inappropriate on the basis of cutting edge biotech. We (BP) have our targets, but I hope that we will have butanol available on a commercial scale, before we have cellulosic ethanol on an economically sound basis.”

New says biobutanol potentially has some advantages over traditional ethanol and yet is still a corn-based fuel. “There is an interesting dilemma facing the biofuels industry called the E10 wall. Some countries will want or need to go beyond a 10% ethanol blend, but we have a car fleet that is overwhelmingly E5 or E10 capable. Flex-fuel vehicle sales are increasing in the United States, but not enough to increase consumption significantly beyond 10%. The properties of butanol allow you to blend it with gasoline up to 18%, which buys you time to increase the market share of flex-fuel vehicles. In addition, you can transport butanol through pipelines and it has 88% of the mileage of gasoline, compared to under 70% for ethanol.”

New addressed an audience of managers and CEO’s about the future of biofuels at a next generation biofuels market conference in Amsterdam last month.

Cellulosic, News