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Drinking and driving is a bad idea, but drinking to help put fuel in the tank? That's worth looking into.

Earlier this year, we saw the addition of a fourth fuel option to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) when it was announced that Dyson Racing would be running bio-butanol in its Lola-Mazda coupe. This past weekend at Mid-Ohio, the Dyson car managed to score its first victory in the sixth race of the season in a nail-biter over the Honda-powered Highcroft ARX-01c.

Scientists in Germany have engineered the common industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to ferment the sugars pentose (C5) and hexose (C6) from biomass feedstock to create ethanol and butanol. Translation: cellulosic ethanol may be one step closer to being more than the green automotive buzzword of 2008 or, worse, one of the biggest losers of 2009.

As expected, the Dyson Racing Team, MazdaSpeed and BP announced today that the Lola-Mazda cars will be running on a new blend of biobutanol and ethanol for the 2010 American Le Mans Series Season. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), which handles the technical regulations for ALMS, put out a technical bulletin last week announcing that iBE20 had been approved for use in LMP-class cars this year. The Dyson team ran one of its two cars unclassified as a test during the last two race

BP could become the first major energy company to start commercial scale production of cellulosic ethanol in 2010 if all goes according to plan. BP has been partnering with Verenium Corporation to commercialize the latter company's process for breaking down cellulose into sugars.

Dyson Racing B09/96 running at Mid-Ohio - click above for high res image gallery

Dyson Racing B09/96 running at Mid-Ohio - click above for high-res image gallery

Butanol is the oft-ignored orphan of the biofuel world, but it's getting some attention down south. Scientists in New Orleans think that waste from zoo animals might be just the ticket to making the fuel for automobile use. Researchers form Tulane University aren't looking to turn the animal feces itself into fuel, but are investigating the waste product of plant-eating animals in the zoo to see what bacteria are involved in breaking down cellulose inside the animal. These bacteria, which would

It's debatable whether or not now is the right time to make changes in the way our cars are made, with some believing that Detroit should follow the path it's already on and others claiming there couldn't be a better time to make major sweeping changes. Count DuPont head Chad Holliday among the latter. Holliday's so-called "Detroit Project" would challenge American automakers to introduce a new "Car of the Future" that would achieve 75 miles per gallon and run on butanol – an alcohol fuel

With all the negative publicity about corn ethanol lately there hasn't been much discussion about another longer chain alcohol, specifically butanol. Like other alcohols, it makes a good motor fuel and it can also be synthesized from biomass. Mountainview, CA-based Cobalt Biofuels has raised a $25 million round of venture funding toward its goal of commercializing biobutanol. The company has developed a microbe-based process for producing butanol from non-food biomass. The new funding will be us

When most people think of biofuels, the usual suspects that first sprint to mind are ethanol and biodiesel. That's not to say, though, that these are the only game in town. There's another player for a non-petroleum alcohol fuel that could displace gasoline in the form of butanol, which can be distilled in a similar manner as ethanol. There are many proponents for biobutanol who claim that the fuel is superior to its ethanol sibling, and there may be some truth to those claims. Butanol can run i

We have covered a few times the potential of biobutanol as a biofuel: It seems to have better properties than ethanol and it can be used in cars without modifications. It also has almost the same energy content as gasoline, thus reducing fuel consumption in comparison to ethanol.

BP, Dupont and British Sugar have made some announcements about their partnership to produce biofuels. In one hand DuPont plans to construct a biobutanol demonstration facility with BP. In addition, DuPont, BP and British Sugar will construct a 420 million liter ethanol facility

Have you heard about butanol recently? Yes, it's one of those alternative fuels around which doesn't seem to be so fashionable these days (especially if you compare it to its smaller, at least in carbon atoms per molecule, sibling ethanol) but it seems that it might light up our interest again.

We have shared with you the benefits of butanol over other potential biofuels in past articles. The basics are that butanol can be created from the same crops that are currently being used to create ethanol, and butanol carries more energy density. Ethanol is viewed mainly as a starting point for the biofuel alcohol industry, with butanol being the next logical step. Butanol was created with use in automobile applications in mind right from the start, which was not the case with ethanol, accordi

This week at the Piper Jaffray Alternative Energy Symposium, which focused on industry and investment trends in solar, cleantech and biofuels, DuPont Biofuels Vice President and General Manager John Ranieri said that DuPont is well on its way to commercializing their biofuel technologies. These technologies include some of the lesser talked about fuels, such as biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol. They are doing this in cooperation with Pioneer, which is a subsidiary of DuPont.

Australian biofuels entrepreneur John Nicholas is trying to raise some money for a new venture. Nicholas wants to get £80 million to build a biobutanol plant in Ireland. The plan is to team up with sugar beet growers in the area to supply their crops for feedstock, which could help revive the crop in Ireland.

Phil New, the president of BP Global Biofuels thinks that biofuels may comprise up to thirty percent of transport fuel needs by 2030. However, to reach that point, new methods of production will have to be developed. Large scale biofuel use will require that they be sourced from something other than food stocks. The worlds increasing food demands are at odds with the increasing demand for fuel. One of the steps to overcome this will be the commercial development of cellulosic biofuel production,

You may be aware of biobutanol as a fuel source from our recent article on the subject, but apart from that it is hardly heard of compared to ethanol and biodiesel. However, there are many factors which make it an attractive alternative fuel for use in vehicles today, one of which is an energy content that is closer to gasoline than ethanol. You can read yourself what Dr. Edward Green, the Green Biologics Founder and CEO has to say, "Biofuels, such as biobutanol, are sustainable and environmenta

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