A team of researchers headed by an environmental engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new techniques to produce butanol, a biofuel superior to ethanol.
It can be derived from lignocellulosic materials, which are plant biomass parts that range from woody stems and straw to agricultural residues, corn fiber and husks, all containing in large part cellulose and some lignin.
Butanol is considered to be a better biofuel than ethanol because it's less corrosive and has a higher caloric value, giving it a higher energy value.
The lignocellulosic biomass is placed into digesters comprised of a selected mixed culture of thousands of different microbes to convert the biomass into butyrate.
From there, the material is sent back to Peoria where another collaborator converts the butyrate to butanol using fermenters.