US Refinery Demand for Canadian Crude to Double by 2015
W2 Energy Begins Development of Biobutanol from Syngas

ABF, BP and DuPont to Build $400M Bioethanol Plant and Biobutanol Demonstration Plant

Associated British Foods (ABF), BP and DuPont will invest around $400 million for the construction of a major bioethanol plant alongside a demonstration plant for biobutanol. Although initial production of the primary plant will be bioethanol, the partners will explore converting it to biobutanol production once the required technology is available.

The bioethanol plant, in which BP and ABF subsidiary British Sugar would each hold 45% with DuPont owning the remaining 10%, will be built on BP’s existing chemicals site at Saltend, Hull, UK. Due to be commissioned in late 2009, it will have an annual production capacity of some 420 million liters (111 million gallons US) from wheat feedstock.

The biobutanol demonstration plant will produce around 20,000 liters (5,300 gallons US) per year from a variety of feedstocks.

Discussions are currently underway to explore strategic partnerships with grain trading business Frontier Agriculture for the supply of locally grown wheat feedstocks and with co-product marketing company AB Agri in relation to DDGS, a byproduct of bioethanol manufacture.

Aker Kvaerner will lead the front end engineering and design (FEED) work with its joint venture partner Praj providing the technology expertise. Although the plant will be built from scratch, it will have access to the existing infrastructure at the BP site for essential supporting services.

Over the last year, we have accelerated the commercial development of biobutanol. The demonstration facility, which will begin operation in early 2009, will develop the processing parameters and further advance the commercial deployment of our new technology. We are concurrently investing in the Hull bioethanol facility with the intention to increase that investment once biobutanol process technology development is completed and conversion feasibility is validated.

—John Ranieri, head of DuPont Biofuels

To begin market development of biobutanol, BP and DuPont are also establishing initial introduction plans for biobutanol in the UK. The companies will import small quantities of biobutanol, sourced from an existing first-generation manufacturing facility in China. The first product is expected to arrive by the end of the year and will be used to carry out infrastructure and advanced vehicle testing.

BP and DuPont announced the creation of a partnership to develop, produce and market a next generation of biofuels in June 2006, with biobutanol as the first product. (Earlier post.)

Biobutanol is an advanced biofuel that performs more like unleaded gasoline than traditional biofuels. Test data presented earlier this year indicate that biobutanol fuel blends at a nominal 10 vol% level perform very similarly to unleaded gasoline fuel. Additionally, the energy density of biobutanol is closer to unleaded gasoline—around 26-27 MJ/liter, compared to 21-22 MJ/l for bioethanol and 32-33 MJ/l for gasoline.  (Earlier post.)

Biobutanol does not increase vapor pressure when added to gasoline, avoiding the need for special gasoline base blends needed to prevent an increase in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Biobutanol does not phase-separate in the presence of water, unlike ethanol. With a lower oxygen content than ethanol, higher volumetric concentrations of biobutanol could be blended into gasoline while still adhering to oxygen limits. Fuel testing also has proven that biobutanol does not phase separate in the presence of water, and has no negative impact on elastomer swelling.

DuPont and BP are currently in the process of carrying out detailed calculations of biobutanol’s GHG well to wheel/lifecycle analysis emissions performance.



Finally, some ramping up of the BioButanol production! I just wish it would happen sooner, rather than later. E10B20 gasoline produced from cellolosic ethanol and farm waste... I just wonder how much BioButanol normal cars will tolerate without altering the fuel system, and if flexfuel cars can do even better...


Whoops, the E10B20 was what I was wishing for, not what I read about.


I just wish they would get this stuff cranking here in the U.S.

Sean Rana

Yeah that is awesome. Cheers! Send that guy to the Social Venture Network because they are holding a contest to award socially responsible business leaders and help them further their endeavors! You can get all the rules and background here:

Ted Hoover

I came across that contest for non-profit business professionals at Social Venture Network rocks!

Ted Hoover

I came across that contest for non-profit business professionals at Social Venture Network rocks!

Thanks for your time,

Mike McGilla

Thanks for the double post...Ice-Man. Sorry just watched Top Gun last night. Social Venture Network is a very, very cool site. Since “green” businesses are popping up left and right, I love that The Social Venture Network is holding a contest to reward business leaders of socially responsible companies! If you know a CEO or high-level person in such a company, please send them to the Social Venture Network site and look for the "Imagine Whats Next" contest.They are holding this contest to reward business leaders for starting or running socially responsible companies. This seems to be a growing trend, and a colleague of mine who works at a non-profit sent it to me.

Ice Man

A colleague of mine who works at a non-profit sent me that website: I’m trying to start a non-profit myself and I can use all the help I can get! I thought I would pass it along if anyone was interested. Ted you can be my wing-man anytime.


back on topic: I hope they're also planning on using cellulosic feedstock.


wow, this is some srsly next level spam!


Social Venture Network huh? Checked out the contest and it sounds like a great thing.


I wonder why it costs so much. Typical ethanol plants in the US cost $1.30/gal, so I would have expected this to be in the $150 MM range. $400 MM, wow.

Vin Diesel

Read between the lines people... it appears that the JV is not as hot about biobutanol as initially believed... there is a looong way to go before it becomes commercially viable, and I think they have to save face so that's why they are proceeding with bioethanol until "the required (biobutanol) technology becomes available"...

Can a bioethanol plant be easily converted or upgraded to produce biobuthanol?


I would like to invite all audience to visit a newly lounched site dedicated to biofuels, ethanol and climate issues. Potential writers are wellcome to write to


For latest stories and news on ethanol, biofuels and climate, please visit:

etjsvxw djeouvsb

gxcqnsj bljamdpu plme kvfbcql rntuzo xezmk rlbu

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)