Butanol...?

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Jan 2, 2008
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I was talking to a guy this past week who works at a fuel terminal and PA is going to require 8% butanol(IIRC the name) to be added to gasoline in addition to the already 10% ethanol.Is this good or more government [censored]?
 
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Less corrosive than ethanol, so it can be shipped by pipeline. More energy density than ethanol and mixes more easily with gasoline. Existing ethanol plants can easily (IIRC) switch over to producing butanol from the same bio-mass sources.
 
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We more or less stumbled into ethanol as the best choice for an alt fuel. Large scale bio-mass butanol production was abandoned by 1950 because petrochemicals were cheaper and easier to get. During the 1970's oil shocks ethanol was seen as the most easily obtainable alternative biofuel because large ethanol plants were already up and producing. Ethanol was being produced in large quantities for industrial solvent use and human consumption (fortifying cheap wines and the like).
 
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http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10228798-54.html Here's a recent news article about major oil companies investing in butanol production at already existing ethanol plants. The more I'm reading about this stuff, the more I like it. Almost the same energy density as gasoline, less toxic than gasoline, cheaper to produce than ethanol, 94 octane at 100% concentration. The only downside I've found so far is that since it's less evaporative than gasoline, you might have hard cold start problems when using it at 100% concentration.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Samilcar
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10228798-54.html Here's a recent news article about major oil companies investing in butanol production at already existing ethanol plants. The more I'm reading about this stuff, the more I like it. Almost the same energy density as gasoline, less toxic than gasoline, cheaper to produce than ethanol, 94 octane at 100% concentration. The only downside I've found so far is that since it's less evaporative than gasoline, you might have hard cold start problems when using it at 100% concentration.
Yeah, that's the one property that really seemed to be a strike against it when I glanced at the wikipedia page. At 3.0cSt it's about as thick as diesel.
 
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I've mentioned butanol plenty of times here. Problem will be the same as ethanol. How do we manufacturer enough of it? But, I would rather see my subsidies go to butanol, as it is more compatible and a more capable fuel then ethanol. Biobutanol and butylfuel don't have the lobby behind it. Maybe one day as the hint of common sense might hit our politicians. BTW, all the diesel's I've driven never had cold start problems. So, lets not give Butanol a bad rap yet. We also don't run ethanol 100%, only up to 85% in E85 for FFV vehicles. I bet that a 15% gas in butanol would make up for any cold weather issues. Just look up the octane ratings, A/F ratios, and BTU's available in a gallon of methanol, ethanol, butanol, and gasoline.
 
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IIRC, one of the biggest commercial dings against ethanol is that it can't be pipelined. Is that the case for butanol as well? You are absolutely correct in your assertion that ethanol is a political rather than technical solution. There's a company down in Indianapolis that is producing bio-GASOLINE! but can't get any kind of traction because all the interest and subsidies go to ethanol. They've had to put all their efforts into the getting their product into the av-gas market because ethanol has been excluded there.
 
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