Biobutanol could power new cars, just as this C-Max is powered by bioethanol
• Research could slash production cost by a third
• It could also pave the way for efficient biobutanol
• BP is already committed to its sale at 1200 sites
Research funding for a new type of more efficient biofuel has been announced today.
The Department for Trade and Industry is funding Oxfordshire-based Green Biologics with £250,000 to develop a cheaper way to manufacture biobutanol. The company has also secured a further £310,000 investment to develop the process.
Currently, biobutanol isn't used in biofuels because it costs too much to produce. It is more efficient than bioethanol fuels, such as E85, so it would return more miles to the gallon. Bioethanol is an alcohol derived from crops.
It less corrosive than ethanol, so more cars could run on richer biobutanol/petrol blends without the need for adaptation.
It's also easier to store and transport, so is more attractive to petrol retailers. BP has already announced its intention to start introducing petrol blended with more-expensively produced biobutanol at its 1200 forecourts throughout 2007. Bioethanol E85 fuel is currently only available at a handful of Morrisons supermarket forecourts.
Green Biologics reckons its new manufacturing method could slash production costs by a third and put its pump price on a par with ethanol. It says it will be ready with trails within six to nine months, with production starting in around 12 months.
• The European Commission wants 5.75% of fuel sold to be biofuel by 2010. Currently biofuels make up 0.5% of the market, but the UK Government reckons it can stimulate growth to 2.5% by 2008/9, 3.75% by 2009/10 and 5% 2010/11.
RH77's Comments: Another tool to add to the toolbox of potential BioFuels.
"Butanol is reported to yield 36 MJ/kg (15,500 BTU/lb) when burned. This can be expressed volumetrically as 29.3 MJ/l (104,800 BTU/US gal).
Switching a gasoline engine over to butanol would in theory result in a fuel consumption penalty of about 10%  but butanol's effect on mileage is yet to be determined by a scientific study. While the energy density for any mixture of gasoline and butanol can be calculated, tests with other alcohol fuels have demonstrated that the effect on fuel economy is not proportional to the change in energy density."
So it appears that Butanol has more BTUs per gallon than Ethanol, and doesn't pick-up water in the transfer process like Ethanol. So where the blankity-blank has the Gubment and everyone else been on this one???
More research is needed! Hopefully the UK picks this up and runs with it...
Fun fact: the Model-T ran on gasoline or grain alcohol (Moonshine, White Lightnin', etc. ) and achieved 25-30 mpg.