HSINCHU, TAIWAN – 10/24/13 – ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute), Taiwan’s largest and one of the world’s leading high-tech applied research institutions, today introduced ButyFix, the first biochemical technology for bio-butanol transportation-fuel production with a negative carbon footprint using nature’s most abundant biomass, cellulose, as feedstock versus corn. The total energy content in the lignin-rich biomass has the surplus to cover the energy for production and the entire life cycle of the fuel (well-to-wheel). Therefore, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission of ButyFix bio-butanol is slightly negative. ButyFix is available for licensing to biofuel- and chemical-processing organizations. ITRI receives a 2013 R&D 100 Award in November for this breakthrough.
ButyFix technology produces bio-butanol with GHG emission reduction of over 100 percent, much higher than corn ethanol with a GHG reduction of approximately 23 percent. ButyFix achieves a butyrate yield of 0.70 g/g-sugar, which is 94 percent of carbon conversion. This carbon yield is 2.7 times of traditional ABE process.
Replacing corn ethanol with ButyFix butanol in the United States, based on today’s ethanol consumption of 13 billion gallons, would further reduce CO2 emissions by 90 million tons/year. ButyFix butanol is the only biofuel able to achieve a transportation-fuel price of US$2.00/gallon – well below current gasoline and bio-ethanol prices – and without government subsidies.
ButyFix bio-butanol can be used to retrofit existing ethanol plants, is a good drop-in fuel surpassing ethanol with its higher heating value, and is more compatible with current gasoline engines (without modification) and existing gasoline infrastructure. It allows refiners to more quickly meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuel standards.
ButyFix also has significant potential applications in the industrial chemical market: chemical agents, raw materials, intermediates, or solvents for the production of paints, adhesives, and detergents. Using it as a raw material to derive butyl acrylate is especially promising as an alternative to petroleum.
ButyFix commercialization is underway and available for transfer to companies worldwide. ITRI holds four patents and six pending patents internationally on ButyFix technology (Taiwan, China, and the United States).
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