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Title: Production of Butyric Acid and Butanol from Biomass

Butanol replaced gasoline gallon for gallon in a 10,000 miles trip across the United States without the need to highly modify a ’92 Buick (your existing car today). Butanol can now be made for less than ethanol and yields more Btu’s from the same corn, making the plow to tire equation positive – more energy out than it takes to make it and Butanol is much safer. Butanol when substituted for gasoline gives better gas mileage and does not pollute as tested in 10 states. Butanol should now receive the same recognition as ethanol in U.S. legislation “ethanol/butanol”. There is abundant plant biomass present as low-value agricultural commodities or processing wastes requiring proper disposal to avoid pollution problems. One example is in the corn refinery industry, which processes more than 13% of the ~9.5 billion bushels (~240 million metric tons) of corn annually produced in the U.S. to produce high-fructose-corn-syrup, dextrose, starch, and fuel alcohol, and generates more than 10 million metric tons of corn byproducts that are currently of limited use and pose significant environmental problems. The abundant inexpensive renewable resources as feedstock for fermentation, and recent advances in the fields of biotechnology and bioprocessing have resulted in amore » renewed interest in the fermentation production of chemicals and fuels, including n-butanol. The historic acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation by Clostridium acetobutylicum is one of the oldest known industrial fermentations. It was ranked second only to ethanol fermentation by yeast in its scale of production, and is one of the largest biotechnological processes ever known. However, since the 1950's industrial ABE fermentation has declined continuously, and almost all butanol is now produced via petrochemical routes (Chemical Marketing Reporter, 1993). Butanol is an important industrial solvent and is a better fuel for replacing gasoline – gallon for gallon than ethanol. Current butanol prices as a chemical are at $3.00 per gallon – wholesaling in 55 gallon drums for $6.80, with a worldwide market of 1.4 billion gallon per year. The market demand is expected to increase dramatically since butanol can now be produced economically from low-cost biomass. Butanol’s application as a replacement for gasoline will outpace ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen when its safety and simplicity of use are seen. Butanol’s application for the Department of Defense as a clean-safe replacement for batteries when used in conjunction with fuel cell technology is seen as an application for the future. Disposable canisters made of PLA that carry butanol to be reformed and used to generate electricity for computers, night vision and stealth equipment can be easily disposed of. In a typical ABE fermentation, butyric, propionic and acetic acids are produced first by C. acetobutylicum; the culture then undergoes a metabolic shift and solvents (butanol, acetone, and ethanol) are formed (Fond et al., 1985). In conventional ABE fermentations, the butanol yield from glucose is low, typically at ~15% (w/w) and rarely exceeds 25% (0.77–1.3 gallons per bushel corn respectfully). The production of butanol is also limited by severe product inhibition. Butanol at a concentration of 10 g/L can significantly inhibit cell growth and the fermentation. Consequently, butanol titers in conventional ABE fermentations are usually lower than 13 g/L. The low butanol yield and butanol concentration made butanol production from glucose by ABE fermentation uneconomical.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Environmental Energy Inc., Blacklick, OH (United States)
  2. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US200707%%192
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Environmental Energy Inc., Blacklick, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Program (EE-3F)
Contributing Orgs:
The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 02 PETROLEUM; 08 HYDROGEN; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; BIOMASS; BIOREACTORS; BUTANOLS; BUTYRIC ACID; CROPS; ETHANOL; GASOLINE; HYDROGEN; INOCULATION; LACTOSE; ORGANIC ACIDS; PRODUCTION; PROPIONIC ACID; SOLVENTS; WASTE MANAGEMENT; WHEY Butanol; alternative fuel; national energy policy; alternative energy; renewable energy; green energy; global warming; biomass; corn; whey; biorefinery; hydrogen; foreign oil; ethanol; Clostridia tyrobutyricum; Clostridia acetobutylicum; butyric acid; propionic acid; ammonium propionate; calcium propionate; ethyl-lactate; butyl-lactate; farm; agriculture; cheese; waste stream; waste management