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Posts tagged “butanol”

By Robert Rapier on Jan 7, 2013 with 5 responses

A Look at DuPont Biofuel’s Work on Cellulosic Ethanol and Butanol

Mr. Jan Koninckx, director of biofuels for DuPont Industrial Biosciences.

Mr. Jan Koninckx, director of biofuels for DuPont Industrial Biosciences, testifying at a U.S. Senate committee hearing on domestic renewable fuels.

During the recent Total Energy USA Conference in Houston, I had a chance to interview Mr. Jan Koninckx. Mr. Koninckx is the global director of biofuels for DuPont Industrial Biosciences – an arm of DuPont that has a strong focus on biofuels. Also present was Wendy Rosen, DuPont’s PR director.

The interview was focused around DuPont’s efforts in 2nd generation biofuels. DuPont is currently engaged in two major projects to commercialize advanced biofuels.

The first is a 30-million-gallon per year corn stover-fed facility in Nevada, Iowa. DuPont has been working on this technology for about 10 years. They focused on corn stover because it is one of the easiest feedstocks to process, and because it is already there as a byproduct of corn production. The stover first undergoes a mild pre-treatment, which means that less inhibitors are produced, and this positively impacts the ability to ferment sugars to ethanol.

DuPont broke ground on this facility on November 30, 2012 and start-up is planned for mid-2014. The facility has about 100 farmers under contract, which will grow to eventually provide 360,000 tons per year of corn stover (dry mass basis) for DuPont’s enzymatic process. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 14, 2011 with 25 responses

Butanol Q&A With Cobalt Technologies CEO Rick Wilson

In the previous story — Butanol 101 — I provided readers some background on the production of butanol, including my own background on working with butanol. This story is about one company’s efforts to commercialize bio-butanol. The interview originated from a press release I was sent a couple of months ago detailing an agreement between Cobalt Technologies (formerly Cobalt Biofuels; and I will get into this name change below) and the U.S. Navy on developing next generation biofuels: Cobalt Technologies and U.S. Navy to Jointly Develop Military Jet Fuel Mountain View, CA – November 03, 2010 – Today, Cobalt Technologies, the leader in commercializing biobutanol as a renewable chemical and fuel, announced the signature of a Cooperative Research and Development… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 9, 2011 with 37 responses

Butanol 101

This story was initially intended to cover a recent interview that I did with Cobalt Technologies CEO Rick Wilson. However, the introduction and background on butanol became long enough that I felt it was a standalone story. The interview with Rick Wilson will follow this story in a few days. I have mentioned before that my first job out of college was with Celanese (at that time Hoechst Celanese). For most of my seven years with Celanese, I was a butanol engineer. I first spent two years developing computer models of the process, doing lab work, and providing engineering support to the Celanese plant in Bay City, Texas. I then transferred to Bay City and spent two years working as… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 2, 2010 with 47 responses

Range Responds

I just became aware that BiofuelsDigest wrote a story on my recent blog on Range Fuels, and got some comments back from Range Fuels’ CEO David Aldous: Battle of the Falling Timbers Aldous said pretty much what I would expect the CEO of Range Fuels to say. He defended his company, and complained that the funding includes money for future phases. That may be, but it is true that Range recently went back to the DOE for more money. If they are already funded for future phases, then why not show us what you can do before asking for more money now? The truth is that the early public statements from those involved with Range – prior to them getting… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 13, 2009 with 1 response

I Never Cease to be Amazed

Thanks to a reader for sending me this story: Company trying to turn waste into biofuel Salem businessmen to turn dairy dung into butanol for vehicles Diesel Brewing would burn dairy waste and turn it into butanol. Butanol is mainly used as a solvent, but company officials want to use it as a renewable fuel. If Diesel Brewing succeeds, it likely would be the first company in the world to make butanol with what’s called a gasification process, said Andy Aden, a senior research engineer with the biomass center at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo. Once the process is proved feasible, Raines and his team hope to build commercial-scale plants that use 100 tons of waste per… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 1, 2009 with no responses

Vinod Khosla at Milken Institute: Part II

This is a continuation of the previous post covering Vinod Khosla’s (VK) recent lengthy interview Milken Institute 2009 Global Conference. The interview was conducted by Elizabeth Corcoran (EC) of Forbes and can be viewed here. In Part I, VK discussed the role of government money, capital intensity of renewable projects, and some of his solar investments. Part II picks up at the 13:40 mark of the 75 minute interview. In this section, VK covers his strategy for cutting poor performers from his portfolio, discusses butanol, suggests that cellulosic ethanol can replace oil, says nuclear power can’t compete without subsidies, says cap and trade is inevitable, talks efficiency and smart grid, and tells us that he is often wrong. EC (13:40):… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 12, 2007 with no responses

What’s On Tap

Update Four essays, plus this one, finished off today: The Problem With Biobutanol This Week in Petroleum 6-13-07 Letter to CNN on Inaccuracies in “We Were Warned” The Problem with CAFE With that, I am on hiatus. I may come back and update TWIP on Thursday. Cheers, Robert Taking a Break I received a welcome surprise yesterday, and found out that I get to fly home this Friday to see my family. I have been away from them for 5 months (so the kids could finish out school) but on Friday I go home to retrieve them for their move to Scotland. Thus ends the most difficult 5-month period of my life. At that time, two things will happen. First,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 1, 2006 with 3 responses


Butanol Production Process In my previous job, I worked for a major chemical company for seven years. For six of those years, I worked on various processes to produce butanol. This included roles in R&D, process, and production, and I received a patent while working in Germany for devising a novel process for making butanol. Butanol is an alcohol like ethanol, but whereas ethanol has 2 carbon atoms, butanol has 4. The most common industrial process to produce butanol involves a few steps. First, synthesis gas is produced. Synthesis gas is a very important raw material. It is composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is produced by burning a feed at a high temperature while limiting the oxygen available… Continue»