Butanol Could be a Much Better Gas Replacement Than Ethanol

 

The technology to make biobutanol, a non-food based biofuel, cost-competitive with gasoline isn’t here yet, but companies in the know say that it could be by 2010.

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Regardless of how the debate between corn ethanol and second-generation, non-food ethanol (cellulosic ethanol) pans out, we may be arguing about the wrong thing. “Why’s that?” you might ask. You see, as a source of fuel, ethanol poses several serious problems.

For starters, it corrodes pipes and tubing — meaning that it has to be shipped by truck, and cars have to be specially altered to be able to use it. Secondly, ounce for ounce it has a much lower energy content than gasoline.

In light of these problems with ethanol, the argument maybe shouldn’t be about first generation ethanol versus second generation ethanol, but simply about ethanol versus butanol.

Butanol is much less corrosive than ethanol and has a similar energy content to gasoline. It could be distributed using the same infrastructure used to move gasoline around and drivers would be able to use higher blends of it without altering their cars. Plus, you may not notice a difference in fuel economy when driving a car filled with butanol.

Researchers are pushing to find ways to make butanol cheaper, but right now the technology is still a ways off. Gevo, a small company focused on delivering butanol solutions, currently has a 20,000 gallon per year test butanol facility up and running. It appears that their main focus will be on providing capabilities to other companies to convert their first generation ethanol facilities into butanol facilities.

If butanol could get even a quarter of the political attention that ethanol has, its fortunes would surely change quickly. But, thinking it over, butanol’s relative obscurity as a biofuel may be a blessing in disguise. The massive amount of attention that ethanol has received seems have done more harm than good from both a public opinion and market-bubble-causing perspective.

So, maybe butanol will be the ultimate winner after all.

Source: Biofuels Digest

Image Credit: dodge challenger1‘s Flickr photostream under a Creative Commons License.





About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.
  • jpm100

    In some ways, ethanol handling is the virtue of ethanol. The small number of companies with refineries and the difficulty in making a new refinery makes for a very closed club of companies who have little interest to compete. The number of people allowed to handle ethanol is legion in comparison.

    There is also another form of infrastructure that matters as well. Gas engines are common and relatively easily converted to ethanol use.

    That being said, I’m concerned about this recent explosion of alternatives. Mostly the efforts are laboratory breakthroughs and not at the stage of cellulosic ethanol where demonstration plants are being built.

    I have to wonder where this sudden money for a broad diversity of sources and forms of bio-fuels seems to have come from. Interest has been there longer than this.

    Putting on my tin foil hat I have to wonder if the point is balkanize alternative fuel advocacy. Making it so there are several factions which spend time infighting and keeping each other down and no clear choice emerges.

  • jpm100

    In some ways, ethanol handling is the virtue of ethanol. The small number of companies with refineries and the difficulty in making a new refinery makes for a very closed club of companies who have little interest to compete. The number of people allowed to handle ethanol is legion in comparison.

    There is also another form of infrastructure that matters as well. Gas engines are common and relatively easily converted to ethanol use.

    That being said, I’m concerned about this recent explosion of alternatives. Mostly the efforts are laboratory breakthroughs and not at the stage of cellulosic ethanol where demonstration plants are being built.

    I have to wonder where this sudden money for a broad diversity of sources and forms of bio-fuels seems to have come from. Interest has been there longer than this.

    Putting on my tin foil hat I have to wonder if the point is balkanize alternative fuel advocacy. Making it so there are several factions which spend time infighting and keeping each other down and no clear choice emerges.

  • Nick Chambers

    Interesting thoughts jpm,

    Keep in mind that butanol can be used in current gas engines without any modification of the engines. Biobutanol would be a “cellulosic type” fuel, made from cellulosic materials just like cellulosic ethanol. It’s just that finding an organism that can ferment sugars and cellulose directly into butanol has been tough. Researchers at Gevo (and elsewhere) have been working on isolating strains of E. Coli that do just that and have been successful. The trick is now to bring the costs down so that people would consider buying it and getting the political support needed to bring it to the attention of the public.

  • CNCMike

    A little misleading. Cars do not have to be modified to run ethanol. Not since the late 70’s when gasohol made it’s debut has there been any materials in the fuel systems that would be adversely affected by ethanol. There have already been tests of pumping ethanol thru existing pipelines with no problems. Actually before prohibition most cars were running on alcohol, not gasoline.

  • CNCMike

    A little misleading. Cars do not have to be modified to run ethanol. Not since the late 70’s when gasohol made it’s debut has there been any materials in the fuel systems that would be adversely affected by ethanol. There have already been tests of pumping ethanol thru existing pipelines with no problems. Actually before prohibition most cars were running on alcohol, not gasoline.

  • CNCMike

    A little misleading. Cars do not have to be modified to run ethanol. Not since the late 70’s when gasohol made it’s debut has there been any materials in the fuel systems that would be adversely affected by ethanol. There have already been tests of pumping ethanol thru existing pipelines with no problems. Actually before prohibition most cars were running on alcohol, not gasoline.

  • ChuckL

    The biggest problem with alternative fuels is that the FEDERAL GOVERNENT chooses the winner based on politics rather than on profitability. This means that efficiency of the fuel in both energy content per unit volume and in profit generation is secondary to “sounding good”. Most of these “fuels” can survive only with government subsidies, the same type of subsidy that most people seem to hate when it is given to oil companies.

    There is a subsidy that we could give to companies developing biofuels that would cost us nothing. We could eliminate taxes on companies or on specific divisions of companies that are exclusively developing biofuels. If it is a good fuel at a fair price, the company will grow and create many jobs that will generate the missing taxes. If the fuel developed is not good in terms of performance for price, then we have lost nothing in tax money used for subsidies, but we have gained the knowledge from this fuel development. This idea is hated by politicians because it takes control from the government and gives it to the entrepreneur.

    Unless you are going to be putting up the money, let’s stop arguing about which is the best. Let’s instead try to get as much development as possible under way. If we do it this way, we will get choices rather than one size fits none solutions.

  • ChuckL

    The biggest problem with alternative fuels is that the FEDERAL GOVERNENT chooses the winner based on politics rather than on profitability. This means that efficiency of the fuel in both energy content per unit volume and in profit generation is secondary to “sounding good”. Most of these “fuels” can survive only with government subsidies, the same type of subsidy that most people seem to hate when it is given to oil companies.

    There is a subsidy that we could give to companies developing biofuels that would cost us nothing. We could eliminate taxes on companies or on specific divisions of companies that are exclusively developing biofuels. If it is a good fuel at a fair price, the company will grow and create many jobs that will generate the missing taxes. If the fuel developed is not good in terms of performance for price, then we have lost nothing in tax money used for subsidies, but we have gained the knowledge from this fuel development. This idea is hated by politicians because it takes control from the government and gives it to the entrepreneur.

    Unless you are going to be putting up the money, let’s stop arguing about which is the best. Let’s instead try to get as much development as possible under way. If we do it this way, we will get choices rather than one size fits none solutions.

  • ChuckL

    The biggest problem with alternative fuels is that the FEDERAL GOVERNENT chooses the winner based on politics rather than on profitability. This means that efficiency of the fuel in both energy content per unit volume and in profit generation is secondary to “sounding good”. Most of these “fuels” can survive only with government subsidies, the same type of subsidy that most people seem to hate when it is given to oil companies.

    There is a subsidy that we could give to companies developing biofuels that would cost us nothing. We could eliminate taxes on companies or on specific divisions of companies that are exclusively developing biofuels. If it is a good fuel at a fair price, the company will grow and create many jobs that will generate the missing taxes. If the fuel developed is not good in terms of performance for price, then we have lost nothing in tax money used for subsidies, but we have gained the knowledge from this fuel development. This idea is hated by politicians because it takes control from the government and gives it to the entrepreneur.

    Unless you are going to be putting up the money, let’s stop arguing about which is the best. Let’s instead try to get as much development as possible under way. If we do it this way, we will get choices rather than one size fits none solutions.

  • Tem Kuechle

    I believe that the future of vehicle fuel will be regional. Each region will create and use what it is most efficient at producing, but will haqve other fuel types for passers through. This is good because it spreads the wealth around and makes it possible to drive from place to place without worry.

    If you were to do a quick web search about ethanol, you might discover that there are several materials that have very good resistance to any corrosive effects from ethanol interaction ( rubber is not good, but there are several other cheap & durable plastic hoses that work as good or even better than rubber hoses).

    Lastly, the energy content of ethanol might be lower than those other fuel/potential fuel types, however it has naturally high octane. High compression engines love high octane, and do as good and better on the high octane fuels.

    So, it is quite possible to run on cleaner burning ethanol (cellulosic or otherwise) with most modern fuel injected (serial & multi-port) engines today with little or no modification.

    Ideally, an engine that runs on pure alcohol would be my personal choice.

    Thanks all

  • Tem Kuechle

    I believe that the future of vehicle fuel will be regional. Each region will create and use what it is most efficient at producing, but will haqve other fuel types for passers through. This is good because it spreads the wealth around and makes it possible to drive from place to place without worry.

    If you were to do a quick web search about ethanol, you might discover that there are several materials that have very good resistance to any corrosive effects from ethanol interaction ( rubber is not good, but there are several other cheap & durable plastic hoses that work as good or even better than rubber hoses).

    Lastly, the energy content of ethanol might be lower than those other fuel/potential fuel types, however it has naturally high octane. High compression engines love high octane, and do as good and better on the high octane fuels.

    So, it is quite possible to run on cleaner burning ethanol (cellulosic or otherwise) with most modern fuel injected (serial & multi-port) engines today with little or no modification.

    Ideally, an engine that runs on pure alcohol would be my personal choice.

    Thanks all

  • Tem Kuechle

    I believe that the future of vehicle fuel will be regional. Each region will create and use what it is most efficient at producing, but will haqve other fuel types for passers through. This is good because it spreads the wealth around and makes it possible to drive from place to place without worry.

    If you were to do a quick web search about ethanol, you might discover that there are several materials that have very good resistance to any corrosive effects from ethanol interaction ( rubber is not good, but there are several other cheap & durable plastic hoses that work as good or even better than rubber hoses).

    Lastly, the energy content of ethanol might be lower than those other fuel/potential fuel types, however it has naturally high octane. High compression engines love high octane, and do as good and better on the high octane fuels.

    So, it is quite possible to run on cleaner burning ethanol (cellulosic or otherwise) with most modern fuel injected (serial & multi-port) engines today with little or no modification.

    Ideally, an engine that runs on pure alcohol would be my personal choice.

    Thanks all

  • Butanol absorbs water more slowly than ethanol, and BP have suggested that adding it in a blend with ethanol can help displace water that can be gained in transmission through badly maintained pipes. That makes distribution of both liquids quite a bit simpler. I hate to say it but the trick will probably be to make it in large quantities (from non-food crops)…

  • Butanol absorbs water more slowly than ethanol, and BP have suggested that adding it in a blend with ethanol can help displace water that can be gained in transmission through badly maintained pipes. That makes distribution of both liquids quite a bit simpler. I hate to say it but the trick will probably be to make it in large quantities (from non-food crops)…

  • Jo

    I have to agree with JPM up there – a multitude of ethanol handlers, facilities, etc. might do more to help things than hurt things. Also, from a performance point of view, the ethanol fuels have higher octane than gasoline, so significantly smaller engines can be made to run high turbo boost, delivering the sort of performance fat Americans (guilty!) have come to expect from 21st century cars.

    (think about it: a 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra had 245hp … a 2004 Honda Accord could be had with more than 260hp!)

  • Jo

    I have to agree with JPM up there – a multitude of ethanol handlers, facilities, etc. might do more to help things than hurt things. Also, from a performance point of view, the ethanol fuels have higher octane than gasoline, so significantly smaller engines can be made to run high turbo boost, delivering the sort of performance fat Americans (guilty!) have come to expect from 21st century cars.

    (think about it: a 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra had 245hp … a 2004 Honda Accord could be had with more than 260hp!)

  • Jo

    I have to agree with JPM up there – a multitude of ethanol handlers, facilities, etc. might do more to help things than hurt things. Also, from a performance point of view, the ethanol fuels have higher octane than gasoline, so significantly smaller engines can be made to run high turbo boost, delivering the sort of performance fat Americans (guilty!) have come to expect from 21st century cars.

    (think about it: a 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra had 245hp … a 2004 Honda Accord could be had with more than 260hp!)

  • Steve-O

    I’m all for ethanol and biobutanol. I thought currently, butanol was from petroleum sources but biobutanol is in its infancy. Anyway, having one fuel for all is what gets us into trouble like we were last summer. Talk what you want about what blew up the global economy, but it was high oil prices, pure and simple. Caused people to go into debt to drive their cars. We need biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol and plugins and fuel cells and CNG, we need the diversity and choice. We need all of the above!

  • Steve-O

    I’m all for ethanol and biobutanol. I thought currently, butanol was from petroleum sources but biobutanol is in its infancy. Anyway, having one fuel for all is what gets us into trouble like we were last summer. Talk what you want about what blew up the global economy, but it was high oil prices, pure and simple. Caused people to go into debt to drive their cars. We need biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol and plugins and fuel cells and CNG, we need the diversity and choice. We need all of the above!

  • Steve-O

    I’m all for ethanol and biobutanol. I thought currently, butanol was from petroleum sources but biobutanol is in its infancy. Anyway, having one fuel for all is what gets us into trouble like we were last summer. Talk what you want about what blew up the global economy, but it was high oil prices, pure and simple. Caused people to go into debt to drive their cars. We need biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol and plugins and fuel cells and CNG, we need the diversity and choice. We need all of the above!

  • Jo

    Steve-O

    while the gas prices were clearly a factor (I don’t think anyone would deny that), you had to figure a society of day-traders and house-flippers conning each other into a “money-for-nothing” economy would eventually fall apart, no?

    I mean, I’m in Miami, and at least a third of the people I know didn’t have jobs. They were day-traders, or brokers, or whatever – but they didn’t have a 9-5 job where they actually “produced” anything. It was all “buy low, sell high”, and even THAT was on credit!

    If someone didn’t see this coming, it’s because they didn’t want to.

  • Jo

    Steve-O

    while the gas prices were clearly a factor (I don’t think anyone would deny that), you had to figure a society of day-traders and house-flippers conning each other into a “money-for-nothing” economy would eventually fall apart, no?

    I mean, I’m in Miami, and at least a third of the people I know didn’t have jobs. They were day-traders, or brokers, or whatever – but they didn’t have a 9-5 job where they actually “produced” anything. It was all “buy low, sell high”, and even THAT was on credit!

    If someone didn’t see this coming, it’s because they didn’t want to.

  • Jeff Baker

    There is a special relationship between ethanol and water, that butanol and gasoline don’t have. Butanol will mix with 7 to 9% water. Gasoline will mix with pre-bonded 4% hydrous ethanol. Liquid ethanol will combust with up to 50% water mixed in. Above 50% water, hydrous ethanol needs to be vaporized.

    Ethanol’s compatibilty with water is the very thing that makes it superior. This is what Phil Ratte (Mechanical Engineer, BME University of Minnesota) says about ethanol in solution with water: “From 1981 to 1989, I worked with Herb Hansen, who had been an engineer on a WW II submarine, and a former captain of a nuclear submarine. We developed two prototype cars, a Ford Pinto Station Wagon and a Mitsubishi Sedan, that ran as well on 65 proof ethanol (2/3 water and 1/3 ethanol) as they did on unleaded regular gas.”

    So here’s an example of two respectable researchers who ran vehicles on a vaporized solution of 1/3 ethanol and 2/3 water. How is that possible after you have diluted the low BTUs of ethanol even further, down to 26,000 BTUs? It’s because ethanol is extremely volitile and has a very high vaporization rate and flame speed. This may facilitate splitting water vapor into hydrogen and oxygen inside the combustion chamber.

    Dongfeng, a major Chinese auto maker is introducing a car this year that runs on 65% ethanol and 35% water. This is a standard internal combustion engine equipped with a compact fuel processing device attached to the intake. Probably a vaporizer combined with a water splitting device. Possibly microwaves, ultrasound, or capacitor spark plugs. Dongfeng claims hydrogen is formed. The Chinese are using ethanol in a more efficient way than we are. When you leave 35% of the water in solution with ethanol at the refinery, you reduce the distillation energy needed to make ethanol by 60%. And you also extend the fuel 35% by adding water. Again the Chinese report that hydrogen is formed. That would be hydrogen on demand from hydrous ethanol. Gasoline and butanol can not do what ethanol can do with water.

    Bottom line is that the highest use of ethanol is to blend it with water and not gasoline. That is the future of liquid fuel. Forget about butanol. Do what Dongfeng is doing with ethanol.

  • Jeff Baker

    There is a special relationship between ethanol and water, that butanol and gasoline don’t have. Butanol will mix with 7 to 9% water. Gasoline will mix with pre-bonded 4% hydrous ethanol. Liquid ethanol will combust with up to 50% water mixed in. Above 50% water, hydrous ethanol needs to be vaporized.

    Ethanol’s compatibilty with water is the very thing that makes it superior. This is what Phil Ratte (Mechanical Engineer, BME University of Minnesota) says about ethanol in solution with water: “From 1981 to 1989, I worked with Herb Hansen, who had been an engineer on a WW II submarine, and a former captain of a nuclear submarine. We developed two prototype cars, a Ford Pinto Station Wagon and a Mitsubishi Sedan, that ran as well on 65 proof ethanol (2/3 water and 1/3 ethanol) as they did on unleaded regular gas.”

    So here’s an example of two respectable researchers who ran vehicles on a vaporized solution of 1/3 ethanol and 2/3 water. How is that possible after you have diluted the low BTUs of ethanol even further, down to 26,000 BTUs? It’s because ethanol is extremely volitile and has a very high vaporization rate and flame speed. This may facilitate splitting water vapor into hydrogen and oxygen inside the combustion chamber.

    Dongfeng, a major Chinese auto maker is introducing a car this year that runs on 65% ethanol and 35% water. This is a standard internal combustion engine equipped with a compact fuel processing device attached to the intake. Probably a vaporizer combined with a water splitting device. Possibly microwaves, ultrasound, or capacitor spark plugs. Dongfeng claims hydrogen is formed. The Chinese are using ethanol in a more efficient way than we are. When you leave 35% of the water in solution with ethanol at the refinery, you reduce the distillation energy needed to make ethanol by 60%. And you also extend the fuel 35% by adding water. Again the Chinese report that hydrogen is formed. That would be hydrogen on demand from hydrous ethanol. Gasoline and butanol can not do what ethanol can do with water.

    Bottom line is that the highest use of ethanol is to blend it with water and not gasoline. That is the future of liquid fuel. Forget about butanol. Do what Dongfeng is doing with ethanol.

  • Steve-O

    LOL JO yeah the current speed of the markets creating “vapor money” is part to blame.

    Hey Jeff Baker, that sounds very promising. I’ll have to look into that technology. I just don’t understand why here in America, the “big 3” arent all over that stuff. They’re all going under because they are fixated on petroleum in the USA. (don’t all GM brazillian vehicles use 100% ethanol and don’t many GMs in europe use CNG?) We just went through major crisis and people have already forgotten about the $4 gas. We have to get past the chicken/egg – infrastructure/vehicle conundrum we have in this country. If we can distribute e85 to the extent we have to date, we can begin on the ethanol water blending thing too. Boone Pickens is the only person with the stones to try anything, but he’s fixated on one fuel, nat gas. Oh well. I realize it take alot of money to get an idea going but it’s frustrating that we arent hitting the ground running fast with this stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if we could nix foriegn oil before the next price jump occurs? Then we wouldnt have to buy any of the crap.

  • Steve-O

    LOL JO yeah the current speed of the markets creating “vapor money” is part to blame.

    Hey Jeff Baker, that sounds very promising. I’ll have to look into that technology. I just don’t understand why here in America, the “big 3” arent all over that stuff. They’re all going under because they are fixated on petroleum in the USA. (don’t all GM brazillian vehicles use 100% ethanol and don’t many GMs in europe use CNG?) We just went through major crisis and people have already forgotten about the $4 gas. We have to get past the chicken/egg – infrastructure/vehicle conundrum we have in this country. If we can distribute e85 to the extent we have to date, we can begin on the ethanol water blending thing too. Boone Pickens is the only person with the stones to try anything, but he’s fixated on one fuel, nat gas. Oh well. I realize it take alot of money to get an idea going but it’s frustrating that we arent hitting the ground running fast with this stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if we could nix foriegn oil before the next price jump occurs? Then we wouldnt have to buy any of the crap.

  • John Woods

    Wow dude thats cool

    http://www.anonymity.at.tc

  • John Woods

    Wow dude thats cool

    http://www.anonymity.at.tc

  • Wow what great news coming close

    to replacing gas with Butanol.

    I wonder what the cost per gallon

    will be.

    thanks from tony

  • Wow what great news coming close

    to replacing gas with Butanol.

    I wonder what the cost per gallon

    will be.

    thanks from tony

  • Wow what great news coming close

    to replacing gas with Butanol.

    I wonder what the cost per gallon

    will be.

    thanks from tony

  • Wow what great news coming close

    to replacing gas with Butanol.

    I wonder what the cost per gallon

    will be.

    thanks from tony

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol does have a high octane rating and has been used in gasoline (in small amounts) to raise octane levels for decades. The problem with ethanol (beside the corrosivity issue) is that it does not contain nearly as much energy as gasoline. When it is mixed with gasoline (typically at 10%)it degrades the burn temperature of the gas, and reduces fuel economy. The reduction of fuel economy from this commonly sold mixture can be fairly drastic, depending on the car you drive, with some experiencing as much as a 25% drop in mileage. This is to be expected as the BTU (British Thermal Unit) content of ethanol per gallon is around 65,000 and gasoline is around 115,000. Does anybody out there know what the BTU content of Butanol is?

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol does have a high octane rating and has been used in gasoline (in small amounts) to raise octane levels for decades. The problem with ethanol (beside the corrosivity issue) is that it does not contain nearly as much energy as gasoline. When it is mixed with gasoline (typically at 10%)it degrades the burn temperature of the gas, and reduces fuel economy. The reduction of fuel economy from this commonly sold mixture can be fairly drastic, depending on the car you drive, with some experiencing as much as a 25% drop in mileage. This is to be expected as the BTU (British Thermal Unit) content of ethanol per gallon is around 65,000 and gasoline is around 115,000. Does anybody out there know what the BTU content of Butanol is?

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol does have a high octane rating and has been used in gasoline (in small amounts) to raise octane levels for decades. The problem with ethanol (beside the corrosivity issue) is that it does not contain nearly as much energy as gasoline. When it is mixed with gasoline (typically at 10%)it degrades the burn temperature of the gas, and reduces fuel economy. The reduction of fuel economy from this commonly sold mixture can be fairly drastic, depending on the car you drive, with some experiencing as much as a 25% drop in mileage. This is to be expected as the BTU (British Thermal Unit) content of ethanol per gallon is around 65,000 and gasoline is around 115,000. Does anybody out there know what the BTU content of Butanol is?

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol does have a high octane rating and has been used in gasoline (in small amounts) to raise octane levels for decades. The problem with ethanol (beside the corrosivity issue) is that it does not contain nearly as much energy as gasoline. When it is mixed with gasoline (typically at 10%)it degrades the burn temperature of the gas, and reduces fuel economy. The reduction of fuel economy from this commonly sold mixture can be fairly drastic, depending on the car you drive, with some experiencing as much as a 25% drop in mileage. This is to be expected as the BTU (British Thermal Unit) content of ethanol per gallon is around 65,000 and gasoline is around 115,000. Does anybody out there know what the BTU content of Butanol is?

  • Guy Gordon

    They should have asked someone with a chemistry degree to check this article. The first thing I thought when reading the headline was “What about the wretched smell?”

    While pure alcohols generally have a pleasant smell, they easily oxidize in air giving aldehydes and acids. Buteric Acid is the concentrated essence of vomit.

  • Guy Gordon

    They should have asked someone with a chemistry degree to check this article. The first thing I thought when reading the headline was “What about the wretched smell?”

    While pure alcohols generally have a pleasant smell, they easily oxidize in air giving aldehydes and acids. Buteric Acid is the concentrated essence of vomit.

  • Guy Gordon

    They should have asked someone with a chemistry degree to check this article. The first thing I thought when reading the headline was “What about the wretched smell?”

    While pure alcohols generally have a pleasant smell, they easily oxidize in air giving aldehydes and acids. Buteric Acid is the concentrated essence of vomit.

  • Guy Gordon

    They should have asked someone with a chemistry degree to check this article. The first thing I thought when reading the headline was “What about the wretched smell?”

    While pure alcohols generally have a pleasant smell, they easily oxidize in air giving aldehydes and acids. Buteric Acid is the concentrated essence of vomit.

  • Mark in Texas

    First the Rant.

    Ethanol does not corrode pipelines. Where do you people get this crap?

    METHANOL is somewhat corrosive and needs to be contained in stainless steel but ethanol does not corrode steel pipelines that are used for transporting petroleum products. Ethanol is a solvent that will dissolve the wax, varnish and gunk that builds up on the insides of petroleum pipelines. Ethanol will also absorb the water that builds up in some places in the pipelines but which does not interfere with the transportation of petroleum products. This means that when the ethanol gets to the other end of the pipeline, the pipeline is cleaner and better than before but the ethanol is too dirty and full of gunk to be used. A few weeks ago you allowed some jackass Obambot to use your website as yet another platform to broadcast his love of The One and his hatred of The Other. If your goal is to destroy the credibility of this web site which is otherwise becoming a valuable resource for information about alternate fuels, keep it up.

    End of rant.

    There is a lot to recommend butanol. As mentioned in the article, it does not absorb water like ethanol does and it can be mixed in any quantity with gasoline and run in an unmodified car engine. An unmodified car engine can run on 100% butanol. Butanol will raise the octane rating of gasoline, although not nearly as much as ethanol, nevertheless 100% butanol has an octane rating comparable to premium gasoline.

    The reason that we don’t use it for motor fuel right now is because butanol is significantly more expensive than gasoline.

    Butanol can be made biologically in the same facilities that currently produce ethanol. This has already been done on an industrial scale. Around 1910, Chaim Weizmann discovered that the Clostridium acetylbutylicum bacteria, found naturally in the root nodes of some legumes, eats carbohydrates and excretes a mixture of 6 parts butanol, 3 parts acetone and one part ethanol. The Clostridium family of also contains the bacteria that cause botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus. This was of merely academic interest until 1915 when the British Admiralty realized that a)WW I was going to go on longer than anybody had originally thought b)they needed a lot of acetone to make cordite for the big guns on their dreadnought battleships c)their previous suppliers of acetone in Germany were unlikely to provide the products they needed.

    Weizmann’s discovery was utilized by taking over a number of whiskey distilleries and using C. acetylbutylicum instead of yeast. Eventually cheaper feed stocks than malted barley were sought and molasses was found to work fine. As WW I went on, a number of purpose built plants were built to produce acetone in Canada, the US and in South Africa. One of those was in Boston and it gained some notoriety when a large, shoddily built tank full of molasses broke causing a molasses flood which killed dozens of people. For years afterwords that part of Boston had the faint smell of molasses. Chaim Weizmann became rich from his discovery, went on to become president of the World Zionist Organization and eventually the first president of Israel.

    The production of acetone resulted in the production of twice as much butanol. During WW I they just built tanks and stored the stuff since they didn’t have any use for it. Even under the lax environmental rules of those days and even during a war, they could not get away with dumping tons of vomit smelling, flamable poison into the rivers. They could have used the butanol as airplane fuel due to its high octane but I guess it just never occurred to them. In the 1920s the butanol was used as a paint solvent for painting the cars that were being produced in large numbers during the economic good times.

    Acetone and butanol continued to be produced by fermentation and distillation until the 1950s when cheap oil and increases in the price of molasses make it cheaper to produce those products from petroleum.

    Using the naturally occurring Weizmann Organism ( Clostridium acetylbutylicum ) existing ethanol plants can shift to making butanol from their current feed stocks although they will also produce a lot of acetone and ethanol in the process. There is a good possibility that genetic engineering might modify this bacteria to produce more butanol and less of the other products. There is also a good chance that the bacteria can be engineered to consume cellulose.

  • Mark in Texas

    First the Rant.

    Ethanol does not corrode pipelines. Where do you people get this crap?

    METHANOL is somewhat corrosive and needs to be contained in stainless steel but ethanol does not corrode steel pipelines that are used for transporting petroleum products. Ethanol is a solvent that will dissolve the wax, varnish and gunk that builds up on the insides of petroleum pipelines. Ethanol will also absorb the water that builds up in some places in the pipelines but which does not interfere with the transportation of petroleum products. This means that when the ethanol gets to the other end of the pipeline, the pipeline is cleaner and better than before but the ethanol is too dirty and full of gunk to be used. A few weeks ago you allowed some jackass Obambot to use your website as yet another platform to broadcast his love of The One and his hatred of The Other. If your goal is to destroy the credibility of this web site which is otherwise becoming a valuable resource for information about alternate fuels, keep it up.

    End of rant.

    There is a lot to recommend butanol. As mentioned in the article, it does not absorb water like ethanol does and it can be mixed in any quantity with gasoline and run in an unmodified car engine. An unmodified car engine can run on 100% butanol. Butanol will raise the octane rating of gasoline, although not nearly as much as ethanol, nevertheless 100% butanol has an octane rating comparable to premium gasoline.

    The reason that we don’t use it for motor fuel right now is because butanol is significantly more expensive than gasoline.

    Butanol can be made biologically in the same facilities that currently produce ethanol. This has already been done on an industrial scale. Around 1910, Chaim Weizmann discovered that the Clostridium acetylbutylicum bacteria, found naturally in the root nodes of some legumes, eats carbohydrates and excretes a mixture of 6 parts butanol, 3 parts acetone and one part ethanol. The Clostridium family of also contains the bacteria that cause botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus. This was of merely academic interest until 1915 when the British Admiralty realized that a)WW I was going to go on longer than anybody had originally thought b)they needed a lot of acetone to make cordite for the big guns on their dreadnought battleships c)their previous suppliers of acetone in Germany were unlikely to provide the products they needed.

    Weizmann’s discovery was utilized by taking over a number of whiskey distilleries and using C. acetylbutylicum instead of yeast. Eventually cheaper feed stocks than malted barley were sought and molasses was found to work fine. As WW I went on, a number of purpose built plants were built to produce acetone in Canada, the US and in South Africa. One of those was in Boston and it gained some notoriety when a large, shoddily built tank full of molasses broke causing a molasses flood which killed dozens of people. For years afterwords that part of Boston had the faint smell of molasses. Chaim Weizmann became rich from his discovery, went on to become president of the World Zionist Organization and eventually the first president of Israel.

    The production of acetone resulted in the production of twice as much butanol. During WW I they just built tanks and stored the stuff since they didn’t have any use for it. Even under the lax environmental rules of those days and even during a war, they could not get away with dumping tons of vomit smelling, flamable poison into the rivers. They could have used the butanol as airplane fuel due to its high octane but I guess it just never occurred to them. In the 1920s the butanol was used as a paint solvent for painting the cars that were being produced in large numbers during the economic good times.

    Acetone and butanol continued to be produced by fermentation and distillation until the 1950s when cheap oil and increases in the price of molasses make it cheaper to produce those products from petroleum.

    Using the naturally occurring Weizmann Organism ( Clostridium acetylbutylicum ) existing ethanol plants can shift to making butanol from their current feed stocks although they will also produce a lot of acetone and ethanol in the process. There is a good possibility that genetic engineering might modify this bacteria to produce more butanol and less of the other products. There is also a good chance that the bacteria can be engineered to consume cellulose.

  • Mark in Texas

    First the Rant.

    Ethanol does not corrode pipelines. Where do you people get this crap?

    METHANOL is somewhat corrosive and needs to be contained in stainless steel but ethanol does not corrode steel pipelines that are used for transporting petroleum products. Ethanol is a solvent that will dissolve the wax, varnish and gunk that builds up on the insides of petroleum pipelines. Ethanol will also absorb the water that builds up in some places in the pipelines but which does not interfere with the transportation of petroleum products. This means that when the ethanol gets to the other end of the pipeline, the pipeline is cleaner and better than before but the ethanol is too dirty and full of gunk to be used. A few weeks ago you allowed some jackass Obambot to use your website as yet another platform to broadcast his love of The One and his hatred of The Other. If your goal is to destroy the credibility of this web site which is otherwise becoming a valuable resource for information about alternate fuels, keep it up.

    End of rant.

    There is a lot to recommend butanol. As mentioned in the article, it does not absorb water like ethanol does and it can be mixed in any quantity with gasoline and run in an unmodified car engine. An unmodified car engine can run on 100% butanol. Butanol will raise the octane rating of gasoline, although not nearly as much as ethanol, nevertheless 100% butanol has an octane rating comparable to premium gasoline.

    The reason that we don’t use it for motor fuel right now is because butanol is significantly more expensive than gasoline.

    Butanol can be made biologically in the same facilities that currently produce ethanol. This has already been done on an industrial scale. Around 1910, Chaim Weizmann discovered that the Clostridium acetylbutylicum bacteria, found naturally in the root nodes of some legumes, eats carbohydrates and excretes a mixture of 6 parts butanol, 3 parts acetone and one part ethanol. The Clostridium family of also contains the bacteria that cause botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus. This was of merely academic interest until 1915 when the British Admiralty realized that a)WW I was going to go on longer than anybody had originally thought b)they needed a lot of acetone to make cordite for the big guns on their dreadnought battleships c)their previous suppliers of acetone in Germany were unlikely to provide the products they needed.

    Weizmann’s discovery was utilized by taking over a number of whiskey distilleries and using C. acetylbutylicum instead of yeast. Eventually cheaper feed stocks than malted barley were sought and molasses was found to work fine. As WW I went on, a number of purpose built plants were built to produce acetone in Canada, the US and in South Africa. One of those was in Boston and it gained some notoriety when a large, shoddily built tank full of molasses broke causing a molasses flood which killed dozens of people. For years afterwords that part of Boston had the faint smell of molasses. Chaim Weizmann became rich from his discovery, went on to become president of the World Zionist Organization and eventually the first president of Israel.

    The production of acetone resulted in the production of twice as much butanol. During WW I they just built tanks and stored the stuff since they didn’t have any use for it. Even under the lax environmental rules of those days and even during a war, they could not get away with dumping tons of vomit smelling, flamable poison into the rivers. They could have used the butanol as airplane fuel due to its high octane but I guess it just never occurred to them. In the 1920s the butanol was used as a paint solvent for painting the cars that were being produced in large numbers during the economic good times.

    Acetone and butanol continued to be produced by fermentation and distillation until the 1950s when cheap oil and increases in the price of molasses make it cheaper to produce those products from petroleum.

    Using the naturally occurring Weizmann Organism ( Clostridium acetylbutylicum ) existing ethanol plants can shift to making butanol from their current feed stocks although they will also produce a lot of acetone and ethanol in the process. There is a good possibility that genetic engineering might modify this bacteria to produce more butanol and less of the other products. There is also a good chance that the bacteria can be engineered to consume cellulose.

  • Mark in Texas

    First the Rant.

    Ethanol does not corrode pipelines. Where do you people get this crap?

    METHANOL is somewhat corrosive and needs to be contained in stainless steel but ethanol does not corrode steel pipelines that are used for transporting petroleum products. Ethanol is a solvent that will dissolve the wax, varnish and gunk that builds up on the insides of petroleum pipelines. Ethanol will also absorb the water that builds up in some places in the pipelines but which does not interfere with the transportation of petroleum products. This means that when the ethanol gets to the other end of the pipeline, the pipeline is cleaner and better than before but the ethanol is too dirty and full of gunk to be used. A few weeks ago you allowed some jackass Obambot to use your website as yet another platform to broadcast his love of The One and his hatred of The Other. If your goal is to destroy the credibility of this web site which is otherwise becoming a valuable resource for information about alternate fuels, keep it up.

    End of rant.

    There is a lot to recommend butanol. As mentioned in the article, it does not absorb water like ethanol does and it can be mixed in any quantity with gasoline and run in an unmodified car engine. An unmodified car engine can run on 100% butanol. Butanol will raise the octane rating of gasoline, although not nearly as much as ethanol, nevertheless 100% butanol has an octane rating comparable to premium gasoline.

    The reason that we don’t use it for motor fuel right now is because butanol is significantly more expensive than gasoline.

    Butanol can be made biologically in the same facilities that currently produce ethanol. This has already been done on an industrial scale. Around 1910, Chaim Weizmann discovered that the Clostridium acetylbutylicum bacteria, found naturally in the root nodes of some legumes, eats carbohydrates and excretes a mixture of 6 parts butanol, 3 parts acetone and one part ethanol. The Clostridium family of also contains the bacteria that cause botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus. This was of merely academic interest until 1915 when the British Admiralty realized that a)WW I was going to go on longer than anybody had originally thought b)they needed a lot of acetone to make cordite for the big guns on their dreadnought battleships c)their previous suppliers of acetone in Germany were unlikely to provide the products they needed.

    Weizmann’s discovery was utilized by taking over a number of whiskey distilleries and using C. acetylbutylicum instead of yeast. Eventually cheaper feed stocks than malted barley were sought and molasses was found to work fine. As WW I went on, a number of purpose built plants were built to produce acetone in Canada, the US and in South Africa. One of those was in Boston and it gained some notoriety when a large, shoddily built tank full of molasses broke causing a molasses flood which killed dozens of people. For years afterwords that part of Boston had the faint smell of molasses. Chaim Weizmann became rich from his discovery, went on to become president of the World Zionist Organization and eventually the first president of Israel.

    The production of acetone resulted in the production of twice as much butanol. During WW I they just built tanks and stored the stuff since they didn’t have any use for it. Even under the lax environmental rules of those days and even during a war, they could not get away with dumping tons of vomit smelling, flamable poison into the rivers. They could have used the butanol as airplane fuel due to its high octane but I guess it just never occurred to them. In the 1920s the butanol was used as a paint solvent for painting the cars that were being produced in large numbers during the economic good times.

    Acetone and butanol continued to be produced by fermentation and distillation until the 1950s when cheap oil and increases in the price of molasses make it cheaper to produce those products from petroleum.

    Using the naturally occurring Weizmann Organism ( Clostridium acetylbutylicum ) existing ethanol plants can shift to making butanol from their current feed stocks although they will also produce a lot of acetone and ethanol in the process. There is a good possibility that genetic engineering might modify this bacteria to produce more butanol and less of the other products. There is also a good chance that the bacteria can be engineered to consume cellulose.

  • LonnieB

    I agree with Mark from Texas (I’m a Texan, too. Go figure), in his “rant” and am gratefule for the information in his following story.

    Now for my own “rant”:

    I don’t see an Obama administration as being very friendly toward alternative fuel sources. During the campaign, he originally started out with one list of “acceptable” alternatives. It was a very short list which trumpeted solar and wind technologies with vague mention of “biodiesel” (not ethanol) and specifically excluded nuclear. Not very “progressive”, eh?

    I have read several articles that showed him to be less than enthusiastic about ethanol. Later in the campaign, as with many other issues, he “changed” the list to include the more “popular” vote-getting positions, and lent lip service to ethanol.

    He is a politician, nothing more. He is NOT a savior, or messiah, as his mesmerized worshippers and the media seem to believe.

    One also has to wonder where our oh-so-honest and unbiased, agenda-driven fact mangling news media will stand on these fuels. And let’s not forget the Hollwierd Halfwits. They know SOOO much. Let’s vote the way they tell us to, maybe they’ll send an autograph!

    I look for the Obama administration to be another Carter-esque debacle, only far worse. According to a recent Zogby poll, he was elected by people who didn’t know what party was in control of Congress (some assumed that since the current President is a Republican, then they control that august body of liars, thieves and panderers), or didn’t know who Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or William Ayers are. One wonders if they even know what the capitol of the state they live in is.

    Of course, our fair and balanced media made sure they knew all about Palin’s shortcomings, but absolutely NONE of Obama’s.

    Okay, I’ll end my rant, as well.

    As to the fuels, I read a lot of articles that boil down to “the technology and/or manufacturing and distribution systems are not in place and perfect, so let’s not bother.” It seems to me that America’s short-attention-span mentality wants our problems to be solved in the timespan of a movie, and if it’s not, then we lose focus.

    I also read a lot of articles that misrepresent the truth about the various fuels. Again, our media does a disservice to the American public.

    I have (or had) plans to start a business producing crate engines for collectorcars, muscle cars, and hot rods, purpose-built to maximize the power potential of ethanol.

    I am going to get certified in CNG conversions in Feburary.

    I am researching hydrogen generators, and so on.

    I am trying to do my part for the economy, the fuel situation and the environment.

    Will our new President and his administration do the same? Or will they, as usual, get in the way?

    Sorry, I guess this whole post is a rant. Unlike the Obamatrons, I hold no faith in politicians. They’re the ones who got us to the point we are at. They’ve proved their untrustwortiness time and time again.

    For the sake of the nation, I hope I’m wrong about Obama. But my gut feeling tells me that the love affair will be short lived, and life in America is going to get harder. Certainly not utopian.

  • LonnieB

    I agree with Mark from Texas (I’m a Texan, too. Go figure), in his “rant” and am gratefule for the information in his following story.

    Now for my own “rant”:

    I don’t see an Obama administration as being very friendly toward alternative fuel sources. During the campaign, he originally started out with one list of “acceptable” alternatives. It was a very short list which trumpeted solar and wind technologies with vague mention of “biodiesel” (not ethanol) and specifically excluded nuclear. Not very “progressive”, eh?

    I have read several articles that showed him to be less than enthusiastic about ethanol. Later in the campaign, as with many other issues, he “changed” the list to include the more “popular” vote-getting positions, and lent lip service to ethanol.

    He is a politician, nothing more. He is NOT a savior, or messiah, as his mesmerized worshippers and the media seem to believe.

    One also has to wonder where our oh-so-honest and unbiased, agenda-driven fact mangling news media will stand on these fuels. And let’s not forget the Hollwierd Halfwits. They know SOOO much. Let’s vote the way they tell us to, maybe they’ll send an autograph!

    I look for the Obama administration to be another Carter-esque debacle, only far worse. According to a recent Zogby poll, he was elected by people who didn’t know what party was in control of Congress (some assumed that since the current President is a Republican, then they control that august body of liars, thieves and panderers), or didn’t know who Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or William Ayers are. One wonders if they even know what the capitol of the state they live in is.

    Of course, our fair and balanced media made sure they knew all about Palin’s shortcomings, but absolutely NONE of Obama’s.

    Okay, I’ll end my rant, as well.

    As to the fuels, I read a lot of articles that boil down to “the technology and/or manufacturing and distribution systems are not in place and perfect, so let’s not bother.” It seems to me that America’s short-attention-span mentality wants our problems to be solved in the timespan of a movie, and if it’s not, then we lose focus.

    I also read a lot of articles that misrepresent the truth about the various fuels. Again, our media does a disservice to the American public.

    I have (or had) plans to start a business producing crate engines for collectorcars, muscle cars, and hot rods, purpose-built to maximize the power potential of ethanol.

    I am going to get certified in CNG conversions in Feburary.

    I am researching hydrogen generators, and so on.

    I am trying to do my part for the economy, the fuel situation and the environment.

    Will our new President and his administration do the same? Or will they, as usual, get in the way?

    Sorry, I guess this whole post is a rant. Unlike the Obamatrons, I hold no faith in politicians. They’re the ones who got us to the point we are at. They’ve proved their untrustwortiness time and time again.

    For the sake of the nation, I hope I’m wrong about Obama. But my gut feeling tells me that the love affair will be short lived, and life in America is going to get harder. Certainly not utopian.

  • LonnieB

    I agree with Mark from Texas (I’m a Texan, too. Go figure), in his “rant” and am gratefule for the information in his following story.

    Now for my own “rant”:

    I don’t see an Obama administration as being very friendly toward alternative fuel sources. During the campaign, he originally started out with one list of “acceptable” alternatives. It was a very short list which trumpeted solar and wind technologies with vague mention of “biodiesel” (not ethanol) and specifically excluded nuclear. Not very “progressive”, eh?

    I have read several articles that showed him to be less than enthusiastic about ethanol. Later in the campaign, as with many other issues, he “changed” the list to include the more “popular” vote-getting positions, and lent lip service to ethanol.

    He is a politician, nothing more. He is NOT a savior, or messiah, as his mesmerized worshippers and the media seem to believe.

    One also has to wonder where our oh-so-honest and unbiased, agenda-driven fact mangling news media will stand on these fuels. And let’s not forget the Hollwierd Halfwits. They know SOOO much. Let’s vote the way they tell us to, maybe they’ll send an autograph!

    I look for the Obama administration to be another Carter-esque debacle, only far worse. According to a recent Zogby poll, he was elected by people who didn’t know what party was in control of Congress (some assumed that since the current President is a Republican, then they control that august body of liars, thieves and panderers), or didn’t know who Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or William Ayers are. One wonders if they even know what the capitol of the state they live in is.

    Of course, our fair and balanced media made sure they knew all about Palin’s shortcomings, but absolutely NONE of Obama’s.

    Okay, I’ll end my rant, as well.

    As to the fuels, I read a lot of articles that boil down to “the technology and/or manufacturing and distribution systems are not in place and perfect, so let’s not bother.” It seems to me that America’s short-attention-span mentality wants our problems to be solved in the timespan of a movie, and if it’s not, then we lose focus.

    I also read a lot of articles that misrepresent the truth about the various fuels. Again, our media does a disservice to the American public.

    I have (or had) plans to start a business producing crate engines for collectorcars, muscle cars, and hot rods, purpose-built to maximize the power potential of ethanol.

    I am going to get certified in CNG conversions in Feburary.

    I am researching hydrogen generators, and so on.

    I am trying to do my part for the economy, the fuel situation and the environment.

    Will our new President and his administration do the same? Or will they, as usual, get in the way?

    Sorry, I guess this whole post is a rant. Unlike the Obamatrons, I hold no faith in politicians. They’re the ones who got us to the point we are at. They’ve proved their untrustwortiness time and time again.

    For the sake of the nation, I hope I’m wrong about Obama. But my gut feeling tells me that the love affair will be short lived, and life in America is going to get harder. Certainly not utopian.

  • LonnieB

    I agree with Mark from Texas (I’m a Texan, too. Go figure), in his “rant” and am gratefule for the information in his following story.

    Now for my own “rant”:

    I don’t see an Obama administration as being very friendly toward alternative fuel sources. During the campaign, he originally started out with one list of “acceptable” alternatives. It was a very short list which trumpeted solar and wind technologies with vague mention of “biodiesel” (not ethanol) and specifically excluded nuclear. Not very “progressive”, eh?

    I have read several articles that showed him to be less than enthusiastic about ethanol. Later in the campaign, as with many other issues, he “changed” the list to include the more “popular” vote-getting positions, and lent lip service to ethanol.

    He is a politician, nothing more. He is NOT a savior, or messiah, as his mesmerized worshippers and the media seem to believe.

    One also has to wonder where our oh-so-honest and unbiased, agenda-driven fact mangling news media will stand on these fuels. And let’s not forget the Hollwierd Halfwits. They know SOOO much. Let’s vote the way they tell us to, maybe they’ll send an autograph!

    I look for the Obama administration to be another Carter-esque debacle, only far worse. According to a recent Zogby poll, he was elected by people who didn’t know what party was in control of Congress (some assumed that since the current President is a Republican, then they control that august body of liars, thieves and panderers), or didn’t know who Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or William Ayers are. One wonders if they even know what the capitol of the state they live in is.

    Of course, our fair and balanced media made sure they knew all about Palin’s shortcomings, but absolutely NONE of Obama’s.

    Okay, I’ll end my rant, as well.

    As to the fuels, I read a lot of articles that boil down to “the technology and/or manufacturing and distribution systems are not in place and perfect, so let’s not bother.” It seems to me that America’s short-attention-span mentality wants our problems to be solved in the timespan of a movie, and if it’s not, then we lose focus.

    I also read a lot of articles that misrepresent the truth about the various fuels. Again, our media does a disservice to the American public.

    I have (or had) plans to start a business producing crate engines for collectorcars, muscle cars, and hot rods, purpose-built to maximize the power potential of ethanol.

    I am going to get certified in CNG conversions in Feburary.

    I am researching hydrogen generators, and so on.

    I am trying to do my part for the economy, the fuel situation and the environment.

    Will our new President and his administration do the same? Or will they, as usual, get in the way?

    Sorry, I guess this whole post is a rant. Unlike the Obamatrons, I hold no faith in politicians. They’re the ones who got us to the point we are at. They’ve proved their untrustwortiness time and time again.

    For the sake of the nation, I hope I’m wrong about Obama. But my gut feeling tells me that the love affair will be short lived, and life in America is going to get harder. Certainly not utopian.

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline. Ethanol blends are hard on automotive fuel sytems as ethanol is corrosive and absorbs water out of damp air. Ethanol contains aprox. 65,000 BTU per gallon as opposed to gasoline at 115,000. Addition of small amounts of ethanol improve octane of gasoline and have been used for decades by refiners. Larger amounts (10% is common) cause loss of fuel economy on the order of 15-25%! Does anybody know how much BTU content is in bio-butanol?

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline. Ethanol blends are hard on automotive fuel sytems as ethanol is corrosive and absorbs water out of damp air. Ethanol contains aprox. 65,000 BTU per gallon as opposed to gasoline at 115,000. Addition of small amounts of ethanol improve octane of gasoline and have been used for decades by refiners. Larger amounts (10% is common) cause loss of fuel economy on the order of 15-25%! Does anybody know how much BTU content is in bio-butanol?

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline. Ethanol blends are hard on automotive fuel sytems as ethanol is corrosive and absorbs water out of damp air. Ethanol contains aprox. 65,000 BTU per gallon as opposed to gasoline at 115,000. Addition of small amounts of ethanol improve octane of gasoline and have been used for decades by refiners. Larger amounts (10% is common) cause loss of fuel economy on the order of 15-25%! Does anybody know how much BTU content is in bio-butanol?

    • Me

      Fuel type BTU/Imp gal BTU/US gal
      Butanol 126,099.7 105,000

  • James W. Terry

    Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline. Ethanol blends are hard on automotive fuel sytems as ethanol is corrosive and absorbs water out of damp air. Ethanol contains aprox. 65,000 BTU per gallon as opposed to gasoline at 115,000. Addition of small amounts of ethanol improve octane of gasoline and have been used for decades by refiners. Larger amounts (10% is common) cause loss of fuel economy on the order of 15-25%! Does anybody know how much BTU content is in bio-butanol?

  • fuck biofuel. We need something that runs off of clean energy.

  • fuck biofuel. We need something that runs off of clean energy.

  • LonnieB

    “Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline.”

    Actually, that is not an accurate statement. If you are basing your claim on current “FlexFuel” vehicles, then the part about economy would apply. That’s because Detroit builds them to run primarliy on gasoline, with a compression ratio of approx. 8.5 to 1. That is far too low for ethanol to be efficient, since E85 has an octane rating of 103, which requires a higher ratio of 13.5 or 14 to 1. Give it that and it will easily match, or even outperform gasoline in both economy and horsepower. Just ask the drag racers and the Indy Racing League.

    As far as harming the fuel system is concerned, that would be true of cars produced before 1979. From that point on, fuel systems were redesigned to be compatible with alcohol fuels.

    Ethanol was added to gasoline to replace an outlawed additive, not as an octane booster. On the flip side, E85 has 15% unleaded gasoline to denature it (make it undrinkable), to give any flame that might occur some color (alcohol flames are invisible) and to help displace or prevent water absorbtion.

    While gasoline may have the BTU values over ethanol, that only occurs when you have a thorough burn. I can’t think of a single production vehicle that has a completely thorough burn, though. That’s where the carbon that fouls your plugs and valves, and dirties your oil comes from. Not to mention the pollutants it produces.

    Alcohol, on the other hand, burns much more thoroughly and cleaner than gasoline. The only significant carbon left behind comes from the additives. Engine and oil fouling are greatly reduced and the emmissions are a fraction of what gasoline produces.

    However, since E85 requires higher compression, the amount of NOX produced is higher. This can be addressed by a type of catalytic converter.

    Nay-saying ethanol based purely on engine performance is somewhat short-sighted. Pollution, finite oil resources and national security are serious considerations, when addressing alternative fuels.

    What alternative do you suggest, because based on your post, nothing tops gasoline. So should we just give up and continue down the Big Oil path?

    If as much energy went into developing alternatives as goes into shooting them down, we could make energy independence a reality for our children, if not us.

  • LonnieB

    “Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline.”

    Actually, that is not an accurate statement. If you are basing your claim on current “FlexFuel” vehicles, then the part about economy would apply. That’s because Detroit builds them to run primarliy on gasoline, with a compression ratio of approx. 8.5 to 1. That is far too low for ethanol to be efficient, since E85 has an octane rating of 103, which requires a higher ratio of 13.5 or 14 to 1. Give it that and it will easily match, or even outperform gasoline in both economy and horsepower. Just ask the drag racers and the Indy Racing League.

    As far as harming the fuel system is concerned, that would be true of cars produced before 1979. From that point on, fuel systems were redesigned to be compatible with alcohol fuels.

    Ethanol was added to gasoline to replace an outlawed additive, not as an octane booster. On the flip side, E85 has 15% unleaded gasoline to denature it (make it undrinkable), to give any flame that might occur some color (alcohol flames are invisible) and to help displace or prevent water absorbtion.

    While gasoline may have the BTU values over ethanol, that only occurs when you have a thorough burn. I can’t think of a single production vehicle that has a completely thorough burn, though. That’s where the carbon that fouls your plugs and valves, and dirties your oil comes from. Not to mention the pollutants it produces.

    Alcohol, on the other hand, burns much more thoroughly and cleaner than gasoline. The only significant carbon left behind comes from the additives. Engine and oil fouling are greatly reduced and the emmissions are a fraction of what gasoline produces.

    However, since E85 requires higher compression, the amount of NOX produced is higher. This can be addressed by a type of catalytic converter.

    Nay-saying ethanol based purely on engine performance is somewhat short-sighted. Pollution, finite oil resources and national security are serious considerations, when addressing alternative fuels.

    What alternative do you suggest, because based on your post, nothing tops gasoline. So should we just give up and continue down the Big Oil path?

    If as much energy went into developing alternatives as goes into shooting them down, we could make energy independence a reality for our children, if not us.

  • LonnieB

    “Ethanol is far inferior in energy content to gasoline and will never produce the fuel economy expected of gasoline.”

    Actually, that is not an accurate statement. If you are basing your claim on current “FlexFuel” vehicles, then the part about economy would apply. That’s because Detroit builds them to run primarliy on gasoline, with a compression ratio of approx. 8.5 to 1. That is far too low for ethanol to be efficient, since E85 has an octane rating of 103, which requires a higher ratio of 13.5 or 14 to 1. Give it that and it will easily match, or even outperform gasoline in both economy and horsepower. Just ask the drag racers and the Indy Racing League.

    As far as harming the fuel system is concerned, that would be true of cars produced before 1979. From that point on, fuel systems were redesigned to be compatible with alcohol fuels.

    Ethanol was added to gasoline to replace an outlawed additive, not as an octane booster. On the flip side, E85 has 15% unleaded gasoline to denature it (make it undrinkable), to give any flame that might occur some color (alcohol flames are invisible) and to help displace or prevent water absorbtion.

    While gasoline may have the BTU values over ethanol, that only occurs when you have a thorough burn. I can’t think of a single production vehicle that has a completely thorough burn, though. That’s where the carbon that fouls your plugs and valves, and dirties your oil comes from. Not to mention the pollutants it produces.

    Alcohol, on the other hand, burns much more thoroughly and cleaner than gasoline. The only significant carbon left behind comes from the additives. Engine and oil fouling are greatly reduced and the emmissions are a fraction of what gasoline produces.

    However, since E85 requires higher compression, the amount of NOX produced is higher. This can be addressed by a type of catalytic converter.

    Nay-saying ethanol based purely on engine performance is somewhat short-sighted. Pollution, finite oil resources and national security are serious considerations, when addressing alternative fuels.

    What alternative do you suggest, because based on your post, nothing tops gasoline. So should we just give up and continue down the Big Oil path?

    If as much energy went into developing alternatives as goes into shooting them down, we could make energy independence a reality for our children, if not us.

  • Farmland is the fastest dissapearing resource in the galaxy. If we use what little is left for fuel, whats everyone going to Eat.

    We are already failing to feed the world, we are quickly going to fail to feed anyone except those who can feed themselves. Now we are going to use whats left for fuel?

    Hope you enjoy your urban sprawl sandwich, subdivision with a touch of city on the side,you can wash it down with nice cold glass of biofuel.

  • cedley1969

    With reference to cncmikes statement that no vehicle requires modification to run ethanol I would like to state that that is utter hogwash, modern multipoint injected gasoline engines and diesels that run on bio diesel that has had the glycerin removed using methanol/ethanol and lye/caustic soda both suffer from seal degradation in high pressure environments.

    This has been the case since the mid 1980’s when hydrofluoric acid wad removed from synthetic rubber seals due to health issues. (Synthetic rubber seals that contain hydrofluoric acid would degrade if the vehicle had been in a fire or the component the seal ran against suffered extremely high temperatures, exposure to hydrofluoric acid is normally contained by calcium carbide powder or in the case of people exposed to it who could not get any the acid would burn through fat and muscle until it neutralized itself on their skeleton).

    So yes there was a window from the early 70’s thru the mid 80’s where that would be the case but not any more.

  • cedley1969

    With reference to cncmikes statement that no vehicle requires modification to run ethanol I would like to state that that is utter hogwash, modern multipoint injected gasoline engines and diesels that run on bio diesel that has had the glycerin removed using methanol/ethanol and lye/caustic soda both suffer from seal degradation in high pressure environments.

    This has been the case since the mid 1980’s when hydrofluoric acid wad removed from synthetic rubber seals due to health issues. (Synthetic rubber seals that contain hydrofluoric acid would degrade if the vehicle had been in a fire or the component the seal ran against suffered extremely high temperatures, exposure to hydrofluoric acid is normally contained by calcium carbide powder or in the case of people exposed to it who could not get any the acid would burn through fat and muscle until it neutralized itself on their skeleton).

    So yes there was a window from the early 70’s thru the mid 80’s where that would be the case but not any more.