Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Up coming Bio-butanol Technologies - I : Biomass to Bio-Butanol using Thermochemical process

After my previous two post I got comments asking what are methods of production of bio-butanol, so I thought to cover various process of biobutanol production starting from upcoming. Economical production of bio-butanol in commercial scale is little far, all the processes available for bio-butanol have one or another hitches.

Fuel derived from food sources are loosing their shine due to food vs fuel reality, non-food feed stock such as biomass are catching interest lately. Syngas (synthesis gas, which is mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) can be derived from gasification of biomass can be catalytically converted to organic fuels like ethanol, butanol and other higher alcohols.

The whole process of biomass to biobutanol can be divided in three basic steps, first is gasification of biomass to syngas and its cleaning and polishing for removal of particulate, tar, acid gases and some other impurities like ammonia. The second step is alcohols synthesis using appropriate catalyst and third step is separation of alcohols.

To best of my knowledge this process of bio-butanol process is at its nascent stage only and groups which are working on this are Syntec Biofuel and Diesel Brewing.


  1. Interesting post, but two queries immediately jump to my mind:
    1) Energy expended in this process
    2) Cost

    Can you please throw some light on these as well?


  2. Dear Manu,
    I might have read in this post this technology is in its nascent stage. And answer to your "but" is we always start with one or another but/buts and the challenge is to minimize these "buts" :)



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