At the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) annual conference BP and Dupont speakers reported that biobutanol has proven to perform similarly to unleaded gasoline on key parameters, based on ongoing laboratory-based engine testing and limited fleet testing.
In 2006, the companies announced their joint strategy to deliver advanced biofuels that help meet increasing global demand for renewable transportation fuels, leveraging DuPont’s advanced biotechnology capabilities and BP’s fuel marketing and technology expertise. The first product targeted for introduction will be biobutanol.
“Biobutanol addresses market demand for fuels that can be produced from domestic renewable resources in high volume and at reasonable cost; fuels that can be used in existing vehicles and existing infrastructure; fuels that offer good value to consumers; and fuels that meet the evolving demands of vehicles,” said Frank Gerry, BP Biofuels program manager.
Gerry spoke about results of tests that confirm biobutanol is a desirable fuel component. According to Gerry, biobutanol formulations that meet key characteristics of a “good” fuel include high energy density, controlled volatility, sufficient octane and low levels of impurities. He described early phase testing data that indicate that biobutanol fuel blends at a nominal 10 volume percent level perform very similarly to unleaded gasoline fuel. Additionally, the energy density of biobutanol is closer to unleaded gasoline:
Bioethanol = 21.1-21.7 MJ/L (megajoules per liter)
Biobutanol = 26.9-27.0 MJ/L
Gasoline = 32.2-32.9 MJ/L
In an earlier statement DuPont said biobutanol improves blend flexibility, allowing higher biofuels blends with gasoline; it improves fuel efficiency (better miles per gallon) compared to incumbent biofuels; it is suitable for transport in pipelines, unlike existing biofuels thus avoiding the need for additional large-scale supply infrastructure and, it enhances ethanol-gasoline blends by lowering the vapor pressure when co-blended with these fuels. Biobutanol is targeted for introduction later this year in the United Kingdom. Additional global capacity will be introduced as market conditions dictate.
An earlier post reported on the companies announcement that they would partner to develop biofuels.