High-yield, cellulosic butanol process introduced, company seeks partners

By Staff | December 20, 2013

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute has announced its trademarked ButyFix process, a biobutanol production technology that can convert 94 percent of the available carbon in biomass, including carbon dioxide. The process is expected to achieve greenhouse gas reductions of more than 100 percent at a cost of less than $2 per gallon. 

The three-step ButyFix process starts  with low-acid hydrolysis at 100 degrees Celsius and atmospheric pressure. The fermentation step utilizes naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria to convert the resulting sugars to butyrate. A liquid-to-liquid separation technique then removes the butyrate for conversion into butanol via esterification and hydrogenation.

To date, the process has been proven at a bench scale. Chiang-Hsiung Tong, vice president and general director of ITRI’s Green Energy and Environment Laboratories, said his group is looking for partners for pilot-scale and demonstration-scale production.