Innovations That Matter

Biobutanol’s energy density makes it a strong contender to replace a range of other dangerous, commonly used industrial chemicals | Photo source Oregon State

Production process brings biofuel closer to commercial availability

Agriculture & Energy

The fossil fuel alternative works with gas-powered engines and has potential to replace other industrial chemicals

Spotted: An international group of researchers has developed a new, more efficient method for separating usable biobutanol from the liquids used in its production. Commercial availability of biobutanol could play an important role in helping to shift significantly society’s reliance on fossil fuels. Biobutanol works with gasoline and also as an effective alternative to it. This means that the many millions of people who rely in some way on gas-powered engines wouldn’t have to pay out for a replacement vehicle or machine. They could simply transition over to the biofuel.

Biobutanol is an alcohol produced via fermentation of biomaterials. The new method of separating the fuel from the fermentation broth uses a Metal Organic Framework (MOF), which makes production much more efficient. In tests, the separation tool proved effective in a variety of environments, including acidic, heated water and organic solvent mixes.

The team, consisting of scientists from the United States, Spain, China, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, is now looking for commercial partners to help scale production. And biobutanol’s energy density makes it a strong contender to replace a range of other dangerous, commonly used industrial chemicals.

Beer waste and agave plants are two other recent innovations spotted by Springwise that could provide affordable, sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Explore more: Agriculture & Energy Innovations | Sustainability Innovations

Email: Kyriakos.Stylianou@oregonstate.edu

Website: oregonstate.edu

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