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#2683701 - 07/14/12 11:30 AM Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol?
volk06 Offline


Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 4237
Loc: .
First and foremost, this is not a ethanol bashing, food vs fuel, or political thread.

Since most ethanol plants are not in the black this year and most are in the red, a lot of the plants will be idling back production or shutting down towards the end of this year. There has been some talk, though, to take those plants and stop making ethanol. Through a few modifications to the process these plants can make isobutanol. Isobutanol is supposedly to have more BTU and more energy than ethanol as they did not notice any difference in a iso/gas blend when compared a 100% gasoline. 76,000 BTU/gal (ethanol) vs 96000 BTU/gal for isobutanol.

I'm no expert on this but I found this interesting and wanted to share. Hopefully there are some people who know more about isobutanol.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/Biomass_2009_Adv_Biofuels_II_Glassner.pdf

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20...s-Small-Engines

http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Art...ll-engines.html

Hopefully in the future we can use waste biomass to make all these fuels and get away from corn.


Edited by volk06 (07/14/12 11:43 AM)

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#2683716 - 07/14/12 11:53 AM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
oilboy123 Offline


Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 6525
Loc: Everett, Washington
Getting away from corn Amen.....
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#2683751 - 07/14/12 12:56 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 13180
Loc: Upstate NY
There are plenty of things that can be used for ethanol or iso other than corn. Byproducts or other waste.

Because the US does not export as much corn as we use to, other countries have grown corn to make up for the shortfall, and in some cases cut down rainforest to make room for fields.

Dumb and dumber.
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#2683761 - 07/14/12 01:14 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
rk1407 Offline


Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 199
Loc: Chicago, IL
The way the drought is looking in much of the US, we are going to see record corn prices. I've heard $10/bushel.

This will either drive the price of Ethanol up big time or bankrupt the Ethanol industry. This is going to get interesting.

This situation might expedite the switch to isobutanol.


Edited by rk1407 (07/14/12 01:15 PM)
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#2683787 - 07/14/12 02:15 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
Stelth Offline


Registered: 02/24/11
Posts: 1316
Loc: California
I don't spend much time in this forum, but I was going to ask about butanol. I've been wondering if there's some big disadvantage to it as a fuel that would make ethanol more attractive. Butanol, at least on the surface, seems a lot better.
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#2683788 - 07/14/12 02:15 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
Happy Birthday Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46547
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
"Biomass" is growing in demand.

We have yard waste bins that get all yard clippings, etc - plus ALL food scraps, plus all shredded paper, napkins, pizza boxes, paper food bags, etc. Our largest can each week. People around the hood usually have their can full as well.

So it goes to company to make..........tada.....compost. Being the business guy - I find out, we pay the bill to have this picked up, pay the waste guy, etc...then they sell/give (part unclear still) to Cedar Grove, who make and bag and sell the compost to us consumers.....

So the question is: Would isobutanol yield more cash?

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#2683791 - 07/14/12 02:21 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
EricF Offline


Registered: 07/14/09
Posts: 1536
Loc: SF Bay Area
is gas gonna rise again because there's allegedly gonna be a corn shoftage due to the midwest heatwave?
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#2683916 - 07/14/12 04:25 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: EricF]
jdeare Offline


Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 406
Loc: midwest
The news media here in IL is saying the lack of corn crop will effect gas prices. They aren't known for being accurate though.

I've also recently seen a Shell commercial that said they were doing something with ethanol made from sugarcane... investing in it? Not totally sure. I was at the gym and I got "distracted" from the tv... smile

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#2683919 - 07/14/12 04:29 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
bullwinkle Online   confused


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 3890
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Sugar cane ethanol is HUGE in Brazil, they power (most?) of their vehicles using it-not sure if we have the climate here to grow it or not.
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#2683972 - 07/14/12 05:26 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: bullwinkle]
jdeare Offline


Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 406
Loc: midwest
Looks they are partnered with a Brazilian company to produce it.

http://www.shell.com/home/content/enviro...sport/biofuels/

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#2685846 - 07/16/12 04:32 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: Stelth]
jake88 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 141
Loc: MO
Originally Posted By: Stelth
I don't spend much time in this forum, but I was going to ask about butanol. I've been wondering if there's some big disadvantage to it as a fuel that would make ethanol more attractive. Butanol, at least on the surface, seems a lot better.


Ethanol is whole lot cheaper than butanol. My work does not get price reports on alcohol, so I do not know the magnitude of the difference.

And, I think the Gevo isobutanol is a game-changer for renewable chemicals. Does the ethanol in fuel have to come from renewables?
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#2689005 - 07/19/12 04:04 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
PandaBear Online   content


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 12276
Loc: Silicon Valley
You cannot grow sugar cane in the corn belt, and it needs a lot of water that we don't have here.

Our city turn the biomass into compost that us resident can get for free. I think they are trying to convert to making methane for municipal instead of compost, that would IMO be a better use of these waste.
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#2699181 - 07/29/12 07:24 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: volk06]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10767
Loc: The Motor City
I find it hard to understand why ethanol plants are going in the red. Ethanol is not "free market" and does not compete with gasoline. This is because many states mandate its use. We have to blend it with our gasoline. The market has been created. If the price of corn goes up, all ethanol producers just pass on the costs to the consumers who are forced to buy it with every gasoline purchase.

Who (or what) is putting etanol producers in the red? It's not the price of corn.

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#2699627 - 07/30/12 10:40 AM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: Kestas]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 2929
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Kestas
I find it hard to understand why ethanol plants are going in the red. Ethanol is not "free market" and does not compete with gasoline. This is because many states mandate its use. We have to blend it with our gasoline. The market has been created. If the price of corn goes up, all ethanol producers just pass on the costs to the consumers who are forced to buy it with every gasoline purchase.

Who (or what) is putting etanol producers in the red? It's not the price of corn.

You are correct. Why the economic principle of "pass through" is not understood more widely is beyond me. So is thinking "Federal benefits" are free.

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#2699915 - 07/30/12 03:25 PM Re: Ethanol eventually to be replaced by isobutanol? [Re: Kestas]
volk06 Offline


Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 4237
Loc: .
Originally Posted By: Kestas
I find it hard to understand why ethanol plants are going in the red. Ethanol is not "free market" and does not compete with gasoline. This is because many states mandate its use. We have to blend it with our gasoline. The market has been created. If the price of corn goes up, all ethanol producers just pass on the costs to the consumers who are forced to buy it with every gasoline purchase.

Who (or what) is putting etanol producers in the red? It's not the price of corn.


Actually it is the main reason right now, especially with the drought at $7 corn. A gallon of ethanol is usually around ~ 2.50/gal. Its a commodity just like oil. Losing the subsidy did hurt the plants bottom line but they were still in the black until high corn prices hit. Higher input prices with the same output price equals bottom lines in the red. Even though it is mandated, if the plants are going to lose money they wont be running. Unless the price of etoh sky rockets due to the smaller supply and put the plants back into the black. This scenario is more than likely what will happen after some are shutdown for a while and the available supply dwindles. Higher corn = higher ethanol costs = higher fuel costs, eventually.


Edited by volk06 (07/30/12 03:32 PM)

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