Wed 11 Oct 2006
Posted by Mark under Bio-Fuel
As excited as I am about Biodiesel and SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil) as fuel for vehicles, I don’t have a diesel car and don’t see one in my near future. If you are like me there is new hope: Biobutanol.
Biobutanol is a form of alcohol that can replace gasoline. It is similar to ethanol but has more favorable characteristics as auto fuel.
- the “bio” in biobutanol refers to the fact that butanol can be made from biological sources including a wide variety of crops, which leads to all kinds of environmental, economic and societal benefits (like less dependency on foreign oil)
- butanol has a higher energy content than ethanol
- it is less corrosive than ethanol so it can be transported through existing infrastructure (trucks, pipelines, etc)
- requires little or no modification to work in your car
- can be a 1:1 replacement for gasoline (unlike ethanol that can be up to only 10% in most vehicles)
- it may even be able to be used in diesel engines
So if it’s so great why can’t you buy it right now? It seems as though the new technology to produce biobutanol efficiently is so new that it is not yet scaled up to an industrial level, and very little testing has been done on how cars will react to the fuel. The good news is that several groups are working on it, like a fairly new partnership between BP and DuPont, and it seems like a very promising fuel. You can find a whole lot more information at butanol.com