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 used to expand an existing test production facility into a pilot production plant. The pilot plant will have a capacity of 35,000 gallons of bioutanol per year. One reason butanol has an advantage over ethanol is in terms of energy density. Butanol has 90 percent of the energy per gallon compared to gasoline, while ethanol is only about 70 percent. Butanol is also less susceptible to the corrosion problems of ethanol, so it can be shipped in the same pipelines as gas making distribution more economical. Thanks to Sebastian T. for the tip!
[Source: Cobalt Biofuels]

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