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Diesel Brewing to Manufacture Cellulosic Biobutanol from Biomass and Manure With Thermochemical Process

Oregon-based Diesel Brewing has launched an initiative to manufacture cellulosic biobutanol from biomass and dairy farm manure. Biobutanol can be blended into conventional gasoline or diesel stocks without engine modifications. Compared to ethanol, it has higher energy content, is substantially less corrosive, and can be transported utilizing existing fuel pipelines and containers.

Butanol is certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an additive agent in gasoline up to 11%. Tests conducted at Argonne National Laboratory have shown that 20% butanol-diesel blends can be successfully used in engines calibrated for 100% diesel fuel. Results showed that butanol mixed with diesel can reduce emissions of criteria pollutants.

Diesel Brewing’s process gasifies wood wastes, agricultural residues and manure into a syngas that is cleaned and fed into a catalytic reactor and purification system to generate a suite of alcohols containing butanol, ethanol and methanol.

Pacific BioPower, an associated company to Diesel Brewing, will hold all rights to the design engineering and technology. It is currently applying for intellectual rights and patent protection for the technologies and processes associated with producing cellulosic biobutanol.

By changing the conversion chemistry, we could produce a number of desirable energy products including biodiesel and Dimethyl Ether (propane) as renewable fuels or Anhydrous Ammonia for the production of fertilizer. For now, we’ll focus on the production of biobutanol.

—Jeff Raines, CEO of Diesel Brewing

Diesel Brewing is beginning with a demonstration facility to be built in Salem, Oregon by the end of 2009, which will process one ton per day of biomass. The prototype facility will allow the creation of baseline data on feed stocks, synthesis gas production, emissions composition and relative thermal efficiencies. This facility will give Diesel Brewing proof of concept and will serve as an exhibit for investors, legislators and government representatives, the company says.

The company’s plans next call for constructing a 10-ton unit to demonstrate production yields, fuel ratios, and gas cleanup procedures, and will allow the company to further fine tune and balance the processes. The location is to be in Boardman, OR, with a projected start-up date of October 2010.

Based on the findings of the two preliminary test plants, Diesel Brewing plans to build a commercial-scale plant of at least 100 dry tons-a-day, again in Boardman, with a projected start-up of October 2012.

Oregon annually generates more than 20 million tons of renewable biomass, and produces 2.6 million tons of dairy manure each year.

We don’t want to merely make electric power from these waste products. Instead, we are seeking a more comprehensive solution, one that will produce multiple clean energy products generated from problematic feedstock materials. These products will be produced and consumed in the same community, creating a sustainable energy model.

—Jeff Raines

Diesel Brewing has engaged Unitel Technologies based in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, and Dr. Kevin Witty, Associate Professor at the Institute of Clean and Secure Energy located in Salt Lake City, Utah as its primary technical program advisors. Pressure vessel and refractory specialists, C H Murphy Clark-Ullman Inc., based in Portland, Oregon, has agreed to work with Diesel Brewing for the fabrication and installation of multiple specialized pressurized vessels.



Bio-butanol seems to be an interesting liquid additive and/or fuel for ICE/HEV/PHEV vehicles if it can be produced economically.

Could it be used as aviation fuel?

What happened to the Dupont/BP demonstration UK plant?

Ritu Kesarwani

Butanol is indeed a fantastic fuel which can work with both gasoline and diesel

Biobutanol-Diesel: A perfect blend fuel for future

A lot has been talked and discussed about n-butanol as a potential gasoline blend fuel and its advantages but very less has been talked and researched about butnaol as a DIESEL-blend fuel. I have been working on “butnaol as a fuel” for more than two years, I have studied, researched and analyzed n-butanol’s properties as
a gasoline blend fuel as well as a diesel blend fuel. More I went into depth more I started liking to see this fuel as a full blown fuel in either way, the simple reason is blending of butnaol improves the various shortcomings of the diesel like lubricity, oxidative properties, shelflife, cold flow properies and cold flow performance.


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