Biobutanol Makes Splash in California

Cindy Zimmerman

Biobutanol got a boost from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday at the launching of a Cobalt Technologies pilot plant in his state,

Schwarzenegger said biobutanol will meet California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS), which was approved this week by the state’s Office of Administrative Law. “It is great companies like Cobalt that will help California meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets under AB 32 and our Low Carbon Fuel Standard,” said Governor Schwarzenegger, who used the occasion to promote his proposed sales tax exemption for clean tech companies. “Cobalt shows us that what is good for the environment can also be good for the economy. In fact, within the next few years, Cobalt has plans to build an even larger plant that will create 1,300 permanent jobs. I want that plant and those jobs right here in California.”

Biobutanol can be used as a standalone fuel or blended with gasoline, diesel or ethanol. It can also be converted into jet fuel or plastics, or sold as is for use in paints and coatings. It is similar to ethanol and can be produced from non-food feedstock, such as forest waste and mill residue. However, while the new state LCFS would virtually eliminate corn ethanol, the company says a 12 percent blend of Cobalt biobutanol with gasoline complies with the standard. The drawback is that biobutanol is not yet commercially available. The ethanol industry has filed suit in federal district court in Fresno, California, challenging the LCFS on the grounds it violates both the Supremacy and Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

biobutanol, biofuels, Ethanol