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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Birmingham study finds butanol-gasoline blend reduces GDI engine-out carbonaceous emissions; similar NOx

September 03, 2017

A team at the University of Birmingham reports that a blend of 33% v/v of butanol in EN228 commercial gasoline containing 5% of ethanol (B33) reduces GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine-out carbonaceous emissions, while maintaining similar levels of NOx emissions when compared to standard gasoline combustion at low and medium engine loads. However, the physical and chemical properties of butanol (i.e. viscosity and heat of vaporization) resulted in a negative impact on carbon monoxide emissions at low load due to combustion inefficiencies.

The addition of EGR showed a general reduction of gaseous emissions and particulate matter (except unburned hydrocarbons), a trend that was more significant for B33 at medium load. EGR improved both Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) and Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) for the studied fuels with respect to baseline conditions. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.

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Praj, Gevo to enter commercialization phase of Gevo isobutanol technology for sugarcane and molasses feedstocks

July 26, 2017

Praj Industries and Gevo announced that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugarcane juice and molasses. This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugarcane and molasses feedstocks. (Earlier post.)

The two companies entered into a Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was for Praj to adapt Gevo’s isobutanol technology to using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology development was performed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.

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Autonomous vehicle company Nauto closes $159M round; Softbank, Greylock join BMW, GM, Toyota

July 20, 2017

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto (earlier post) closed a $159-million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle research and development across multiple automakers.

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Taiwan team engineers E. coli to produce n-butanol from glycerol

July 05, 2017

Researchers at Feng Chia University in Taiwan have engineered the bacterium Escherichia coli to produce n-butanol from crude glycerol—a byproduct of the production of biodiesel.

In an open-access paper in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels, they report that under microaerobic conditions, the engineered strain produced 6.9 g/L n-butanol from 20 g/L crude glycerol. The conversion yield and the productivity reached 87% of the theoretical yield and 0.18 g/L/h, respectively. Overall, the team concluded, the technology platform may be useful for the economic viability of glycerol-related industries.

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Argonne, NREL, Gevo to develop predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline

May 12, 2017

Gevo has been selected to collaborate with Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) received funding to develop a predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline blendstocks for oxygenated blending (BOBs).

While it is known that isobutanol increases octane when blended into BOBs, the effect is non-linear, and dependent on a BOB’s properties. This project is intended to measure the actual octane effect on finished fuels when blending Gevo’s isobutanol with existing BOBs, obviating the need for blenders to perform these expensive and time-consuming tests themselves.

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BP, DuPont JV Butamax acquires ethanol plant to add bio-isobutanol production capability as demo plant

April 03, 2017

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, acquired Nesika Energy, LLC and its ethanol facility in Scandia, Kansas. Butamax will now start the detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the facility, while continuing to produce ethanol before and after adding this capacity.

Butamax plans to license its proprietary bio-isobutanol technology beyond this first facility on a global scale. When the newly acquired facility in Kansas has bio-isobutanol production capability, it will be used as a demonstration facility for potential licensees to see the technology in operation and serve as a proving ground for future developments.

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Gevo enters on-road automobile gasoline market in Houston with 12.5% isobutanol blend

November 12, 2016

Gevo, Inc. announced that a 12.5% blend of its bio-isobutanol with gasoline marketed for use in automobiles has begun to be sold in the Houston area. This marks the first time that Gevo’s isobutanol has been specifically targeted towards on-road vehicles. Previously, Gevo and its partners have focused on specialty markets such as marinas and off-road engines. (Earlier post.)

Musket Corporation is Gevo’s distribution partner serving the Houston market and is blending the specially formulated gasoline containing Gevo’s isobutanol to distribute into the on-road automobile market. Buc-ee’s, a 37-store regional chain of rest stops in Texas, is the first company to sell the blend, marketed as a high-performance ethanol-free gasoline.

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