delware environmental institute

WDDE: Biobutanol poised to move forward as an alternative fuel option?

By the end of 2017, Wilmington-based Butamax Advanced Biofuels, a joint venture of BP and DuPont, hopes to replace ethanol at gas stations with a new biofuel called biobutanol. The U.S. has a long history of producing butanol, most notably as an industrial solvent in plants that manufactured explosives during the First and Second World Wars. But its potential to be used to fuel cars emerged in the last twenty years.

Biobutanol has many advantages over ethanol. The product that’s being developed at Dupont’s Experimental Research Station has 25 percent more energy per gallon than ethanol. It’s also less corrosive than ethanol, making it more compatible with existing fuel infrastructures and pipelines,

Terry Papoutsakis, a chemistry professor at University of Delaware,  says that the biggest hurdle for biobutanol is cost.