Speaking at the Agra Informa Next Generation Biofuels conference, DuPont Biofuels venture manager David Anton disclosed that a partnership between the two companies has been developing biocatalysts to produce 1-butanol as well as 2-butanol and iso-butanol – higher octane biobutanol isomers that are of interest as fuels.
For his part, BP’s Biofuels Business technology manager Ian Dobson shared new BP engine and vehicle testing data that demonstrated that high octane biobutanol at concentrations of 16 per cent delivers a similar fuel performance to current 10 per cent ethanol blend petrol fuels.
Tests at the companies showed that 16 per cent high octane butanol blends have the added advantages of vapour pressure behaviour and distillation curves comparable to regular petrol and, unlike 10 per cent ethanol, do not phase separate in the presence of water.
‘On the basis of the vehicle test results, we believe that high octane butanol offers a way to break through the 10 per cent constraint with ethanol,’ Dobson said.
By 2010, the two companies aim to demonstrate a biobutanol manufacturing process which is as economical as the ethanol production process.