What are biobutanol advantages?
One of the most important
biobutanol advantage is the fact that its will reduce carbon emissions. The EPA has released data
showing that hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide releases can be greatly reduced by use of
biobutanol. Another advantage is that biobutanol has a higher energy content than ethanol,
almost 20% more by density. Due to its similarities to conventional gasoline, it is able to blend much better
than ethanol with gasoline. It has even shown promise when using 100% biobutanol in a conventional gasoline
engine. Besides these, biobutanol experiences a lower chance of separation and corrosion than
ethanol. Biobutanol also resists water absorption, allowing it to be transported in pipes and carriers
used by gasoline. A very exciting advantage of biobutanol is that vehicles require no
modifications to use it. This means that with effective pumping systems, it can be implemented
immediately. Currently, funds are quickly rising for biobutanol production and the only requirement is a
cheap and fast modification to the ethanol plants which already exist. As yield efficiencies rise, the cost
of biobutanol will continue to drop from its already reasonable price.
Quantifying advantages of Biobutanol?
A recent article conpared the full life cycle assessment of biobutanol and
bioethanol. Recall that ethanol adds only a small positive delta to the energy balance. In some
cases, producing ethanol via fermentation costs the same energy (from fertilization, harvesting, fermentation
and separation) as energy expended in the steps involved in producing ethanol. Biobutanol shifts the
Swana et.al. state that “Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) suggest that the net
energy generated during corn-to-biobutanol conversion is 6.53MJ/L, which is greater than that of the
corn-derived bioethanol (0.40MJ/L).” Methods expected to be employed in the next 3-4 years further
double the energy assessment.
Swana J, Yang Y, Behnam M, Thompson R: An analysis of net energy production
and feedstock availability for biobutanol and bioethanol. Bioresour Technol. 2010 Aug 24
How does biodegradation of n-butanol and isobutanol in ground compare to
When you have fuel in underground storage tanks at a gas station, there is
a chance of it leaking into the ground. A recent presentation by Cherri Adir and John Wilson of US
EPA/ORD/NRMRL on Septemeber 20, 2010 shows that aneraboic degradation of both n-butanol and isobutanol
is considerably slower (20x)than ethanol. This is not bad news. It turns out that ethanol in fuel
undergoes rapid biodegradation causing methane gases to form rapidly. These methane gases can result in
explosions. In addition, rapid biodegradation of ethanol can interfere with natural degradation
of petroleum based portion of the fuel.