Biobased Butanol Info

Next Generation Biofuel


Industrial bioproduct


Butanol isomers-nbutanol, isobutanol and tertbutanol and their properties

What are the Butanol isomers?

Butanol has total four different isomers.  However only three are commercially important: n-butanol, isobutanol, tertbutanol.

Table with structure of isomers and their properties






 Alternate Names

 1-Butanol, Butyl alcohol, Butyl hydroxide,
Methylolpropane, Propylcarbinol

 Isobutyl alcohol, IBA, 2-methylpropyl alcohol  t-butanol, 2-methyl-2-propanol, t-butyl alcohol,
tert-butyl alcohol, 1,1-dimethylethanol, dimethylethanol
 IUPAC Name  Butan-1-ol  2-Methylpropan-1-ol  2-methyl-propan-2-ol
 Molecular Formula  C4H10O  C4H10O  C4H10O
 Molar Mass  74.122 g/mol  74.122 g/mol  74.122 g/mol
 Density  0.8098 g/cm3  0.802 g/cm3  0.7809 g/cm3
 Viscosity  -89.5°C, -129°F, 184 K  -101.9°C, -151°F,171 K  25°C, 77°F, 298.3 K
 Boiling Point  117.7°C, 244°F, 391 K  107.89°C, 226°F, 381 K  82°C, 180°F, 355.5 K
 Flash Point  35°C  28°C  11°C


What are common uses of butanol?

N-butanol, iso-butanol and tert-butanol have multiple uses in industrial and consumer products.  The market for n-butanol and isobutanol is over 7 billion lbs.  The companies focused on producing biobutanol have a captive market already. 

N-butanol finds applications as

-production intermediate for:
      -butyl acrylate
      -butyl acetate
      -dibutyl phthalate
-extractant for:
-perfume ingredient
-degreasers and cleaning solutions

Iso-butanol finds applications as

-paint solvent
-ink ingredient
-gasoline additive
-derivative ester precursor
-viscosity reducer in paint
-automotive polish and paint cleaner additive

Tert-butanol finds application as

-perfume ingredient
-gasoline octane booster
-paint remover ingredient
-synthesis intermediate of:
      -methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)
      -ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE)
      -tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP)



" helped me learn about this exciting biobased solvent. I look forward to formulating with it."

- Leonard Shine, USA -