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Old 11-16-2008, 02:33 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default 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.
http://gas2.org/2008/11/13/butanol-c...-than-ethanol/
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:23 PM   #2
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Well butanol is chemically very similar to the structure of ethanol and should yield a similar amount of energy when burned.
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:23 PM   #3
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hydrazine hydrate and methanol is the best!

lots of energy
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:38 AM   #4
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I just saw this on the ALMS and they are supposedly debuting it to their series. Some quick research seems that this could actually be much better than the disaster that is our conventional ethanol
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:15 PM   #5
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i don't care what the alternative to gasoline fuel is be it ethanol or butanol. just make it available already!
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nhat View Post
i don't care what the alternative to gasoline fuel is be it ethanol or butanol. just make it available already!
the volume of gas used in this country makes it almost impossible to roll out a different fuel source.

biobutanol is better than ethanol because it has a higher energy density, and it can be piped, unlike ethanol. production volumes is the current issue.

In any case it'll just be a 10% additive, just like ethanol is today.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:15 AM   #7
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Butanol around 87 OCT R+M/2
E85 around 105 OCT R+M/2

I'll keep pumping the booze.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanH View Post
I just saw this on the ALMS and they are supposedly debuting it to their series. Some quick research seems that this could actually be much better than the disaster that is our conventional ethanol
Yep, saw that also, the (sexy) Mazda LMP2 cars were running it. Go ALMS!
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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Well butanol is chemically very similar to the structure of ethanol and should yield a similar amount of energy when burned.
It yields more. It is also not miscible with water like ethanol so you don't suck water into the fuel constantly, also it stays mixed with gas and can be used in the same pipelines as gasoline unlike ethanol.

Basically ethanol is crap in comparison, but hey who needs to use science when deciding what to do.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nhat View Post
i don't care what the alternative to gasoline fuel is be it ethanol or butanol. just make it available already!
Yep they need to. They probably could have over these years, but I think there's a political side to this that the public never will know.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:42 PM   #11
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Yep they need to. They probably could have over these years, but I think there's a political side to this that the public never will know.
No...the public knows all about it. The politicians just don't care if it screws everyone else.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:58 PM   #12
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I just saw this on the ALMS and they are supposedly debuting it to their series. Some quick research seems that this could actually be much better than the disaster that is our conventional ethanol
Did you see this..?

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/09/27/v...troyed-at-pet/
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:39 AM   #13
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Yup, that was a horrible crash, and it's amazing he just got up and walked away from that. They rebuilt that car in time for the race. Amazing effort! The rebuild details are here:

http://www.americanlemans.com/index_news.php?n=13873
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DSM_Outback View Post
Butanol around 87 OCT R+M/2
E85 around 105 OCT R+M/2

I'll keep pumping the booze.
87 octane?!? No thanks!

I'll keep with the corn juice as well.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:20 PM   #15
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I am pretty sure if it has enough power to run an ALMS car it will more than power our econoboxes.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:38 PM   #16
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so much water in the world and still they don't want to use hydrogen.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:14 PM   #17
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Corn is one of the last crops we should make ethanol out of. Gotta love the Corn Grower Lobby

Corn-Based Ethanol - Brought to you by the same people that you brought you this commercial:
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BryanH View Post
I am pretty sure if it has enough power to run an ALMS car it will more than power our econoboxes.
http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/artic...petit-le-mans/
Fuel is nothing more than BTUs and thermal management, not really power so much.
BTW: Everyone touting the Butanol might want to read up on it...
ALMS is running a blend of "evil" Ethanol and Butanol, my guess is the Ethanol is there for knock control.

Code:
Fuel 	     Energy density 	 Air-fuel ratio 	Specific energy 	 Heat of vaporization 	RON 	MON
Butanol fuel 	29.2 MJ/L 	11.2 	               3.2 MJ/kg air 	       0.43 MJ/kg 	        96 	  78
Ethanol fuel 	19.6 MJ/L        9.0 	               3.0 MJ/kg air 	       0.92 MJ/kg 	       129 	  102
Wow, Butanol is worse than AZ, CA or CO 91 "piss" in terms of octane and only marginally better than Ethanol when it comes to energy content, Ethanol Lambda of 1=9:1 AF vs Butanol's Lambda of 1 = 11.2:1 AF.

Yeah, I agree that corn's not the best but I don't truly believe there is a "silver bullet" replacement for petroleum distillates. Keep hating on the E85, because that's what everyone else is doing and it really is the politically correct thing to do, I'll keep making power with it.

Last edited by DSM_Outback; 09-30-2009 at 07:36 AM. Reason: To correct one line.
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSM_Outback View Post
http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/artic...petit-le-mans/
Fuel is nothing more than BTUs and thermal management, not really power so much.
BTW: Everyone touting the Butanol might want to read up on it...
ALMS is running a blend of "evil" Ethanol and Butanol, my guess is the Ethanol is there for knock control.

Code:
Fuel 	     Energy density 	 Air-fuel ratio 	Specific energy 	 Heat of vaporization 	RON 	MON
Butanol fuel 	29.2 MJ/L 	11.2 	               3.2 MJ/kg air 	       0.43 MJ/kg 	        96 	  78
Ethanol fuel 	19.6 MJ/L        9.0 	               3.0 MJ/kg air 	       0.92 MJ/kg 	       129 	  102
Wow, Butanol is worse than AZ, CA or CO 91 "piss" in terms of octane and only marginally better than Ethanol when it comes to specific energy.

Yeah, I agree that corn's not the best but I don't truly believe there is a "silver bullet" replacement for petroleum distillates. Keep hating on the E85, because that's what everyone else is doing and it really is the politically correct thing to do, I'll keep making power with it.
I don't think you understand your own post. Do you know what energy density is? That is what determines how many MPGs you can get. That is what determines how much energy is in your gas tank. That is what determines your power you can produce for a given volumes of fuel. Fuel injectors inject volumes, gas tanks hold volumes. Comparing the specific energy makes absolutely no sense. You can pump more air in if you need it.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:34 AM   #20
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Default I don't think YOU understand your own post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty View Post
I don't think you understand your own post. Do you know what energy density is? That is what determines how many MPGs you can get. That is what determines how much energy is in your gas tank. That is what determines your power you can produce for a given volumes of fuel.
Yeah, I fully understand that part. I mislabeled my second statement under the code box, I'll edit that.

You can get a really good idea of energy density based on a Fuel's Lambda Value of 1.0. The leaner the fuel, the higher the energy content. Unfortunately two pesky issues impede the one dimensional energy content angle: No IC engine is very efficient in converting these BTUs into motion (lightweight small displacement, high specific output engines are above par but usually require a high octane fuel to quell detonation), not everyone wants diesel, kerosene or naphtha power.

As far as BTUs determining power production, you need to get your head out of that box. The way you put it, the guy with the biggest gas tank has the most horsepower... It has more to due with the oxygen content of the fuel and how much of it you can burn each rev.
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Old 09-30-2009, 03:31 PM   #21
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My head isn't in that box. The point is rather simple. You buy fuel by the gallon. If it takes 33% more ethanol to drive one mile then you need either a 33% bigger tank or you reduce range. If you make a bigger tank it weighs more. Nothing is free. Ethanol is not that great from an energy density standpoint. And if you don't care about energy density you should like batteries. Their energy density is crap, but they can certainly putt quite a bit of power out.
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:13 PM   #22
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My head isn't in that box. The point is rather simple. You buy fuel by the gallon. If it takes 33% more ethanol to drive one mile then you need either a 33% bigger tank or you reduce range. If you make a bigger tank it weighs more. Nothing is free. Ethanol is not that great from an energy density standpoint. And if you don't care about energy density you should like batteries. Their energy density is crap, but they can certainly putt quite a bit of power out.
I don't disagree.
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:40 PM   #23
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I wrote "putt" not put Ah well...

Anyway ethanol is quite good as an octane booster IMO so I wasn't arguing with you there either. I find it funny that back in the 90s the oil companies were trying to shoot down ethanol so they could sell MTBE instead. Remember how that worked out? Ethanol does have some nice things about it, I just think that butanol would be a better drop in replacement for gasoline. Keep the ethanol as an oxygenator, or at least get it from cellulose.
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