(429f) The Production of Fuel Grade Butanol From Algal Carbohydrates Utilizing a Hybrid Biological and Chemical Process

Potts, T. M., University of Arkansas
Ackerson, M., University of Arkansas

Butanol has the potential to become a superior renewable fuel, either as a mixture with petroleum derived gasoline or as a stand-alone, neat fuel.  The promise of butanol is currently marred by the relatively high cost of production.  This paper explores a new and novel approach to the production of fuel grade butanol by combining a bacterial fermentation front end with a catalytic hydrogenation back end.  Thus, the fermentation of algal carbohydrates to butyric acid includes a dialysis step to concentrate the butyric acid and remove the inhibitory organic acid from the fermentation broth.  The concentrated and de-watered butyric acid is then converted to butanol in a liquid phase catalytic hydrotreater.  The kinetics of the hydrogenation is discussed, and a discussion of the economics of the hybrid processing system is presented.