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Biofuels Partnership Targets Multiple Butanol Molecules


DuPont and BP have announced that their partnership to develop and commercialize biobutanol is targeting advanced metabolic pathways for 1-butanol as well as other higher octane biobutanol isomers. The companies also announced that testing of these advanced biofuels demonstrates that the use of biobutanol can increase the blending of biofuels in gasoline beyond the current 10 percent limit for ethanol without compromising performance.

Speaking at the Agra Informa Next Generation Biofuels conference in Hamburg, Germany, DuPont Biofuels Venture Manager David Anton and BP Biofuels Business Technology Manager Ian Dobson disclosed that the partnership has been developing biocatalysts to produce 1-butanol as well as 2-butanol and iso-butanol – higher octane biobutanol isomers that are of increased interest and utility from a fuels perspective. Fuel testing conducted over the last 12 months by BP demonstrates that high octane biobutanol can deliver the exceptional performance characteristics the partnership has previously communicated (including improved energy density/fuel economy compared to current biofuel blends and use in existing fuels infrastructure) at fuel blends greater than the current 10 percent ethanol blend limit.

“DuPont and BP were the first players in the area of advanced biofuels to announce our intent to not only improve the bio-process to produce commercial volumes of biobutanol, but also to pursue an integrated commercialization strategy that incorporates building pilot and commercial scale facilities, a complete fuel evaluation, and a full environmental life cycle analysis,” David said.

Under the partnership, there currently are more than 60 patent applications in the areas of biology, fermentation processing, chemistry and end uses for biobutanol. The program is designed to deliver by 2010 a superior biobutanol manufacturing process with economics equivalent to ethanol. DuPont disclosed that those patents cover the higher octane isomers as well as the previously announced 1-butanol. “We believe this places the BP/DuPont partnership in a strong intellectual property position in the butanol areas of greatest interest,” David said.


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