Navy researchers convert 2,3-Butanediol to renewable gasoline, solvents, and fuel additives; dioxolanes
Researchers at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), China Lake report on a solvent-free process for the conversion of 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD)—a renewable alcohol that can be prepared in high yield from biomass sugars—to a complex mixture of 2-ethyl-2,4,5-trimethyl-1,3-dioxolanes and 4,5-dimethyl-2-isopropyl dioxolanes. A paper on their work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.
The purified dioxolane mixture exhibited an anti-knock index of 90.5, comparable to high octane gasoline, and a volumetric net heat of combustion 34% higher than ethanol.
The solubility of the dioxolane mixture in water was only 0.8 g/100 mL—nearly an order of magnitude lower than the common gasoline oxygenate methyl tert-butyl ether.
The dioxolane mixture has potential applications as a sustainable gasoline blending component, diesel oxygenate, and industrial solvent.
Harvey, B. G., Merriman, W. W. and Quintana, R. L. (2016), “Renewable Gasoline, Solvents, and Fuel Additives from 2,3-Butanediol,” ChemSusChem doi: 10.1002/cssc.201600225