Butanol Manufacture Technology Description

Online Butanol Data: Manufacture, Uses and Applications

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In this page you will find free data about Butanol, including:

  • What is Butanol
  • How to make Butanol
  • Butanol uses and applications

This page presents brief synopsis of Butanol production technology, describing, in a concise way, relevant technical and economic aspects. Each manufacturing process description will consist of:

  • Major process steps
  • Simplified, schematic flow diagram & key equipment
  • Important safety or environmental considerations
  • Economic perspective, comprising capital expenditures and/or operating expenses

n-Butanol Manufacture from Lignocellulosic Feedstock

The alcohol n-butanol is applied in the production of butyl acrylates to supply the coatings and adhesives industries. It is also used in plasticizers or directly as a solvent. It is commercially produced from propylene and synthesis gas (syngas) by chemical synthesis.

Due to the increasing interest in biofuels development, the production of n-butanol through a fermentation process is being revisited and improved. Biobutanol is an attractive renewable fuel that can be produced from the fermentation of sugars derived from agricultural feedstock — for example, corn and sugarcane — or from waste lignocellulosic materials, such as corn stover and sugarcane bagasse.

In this field, bio-butanol is viewed as an alternative to ethanol, since it fits the existing fuel infrastructure better and exhibits higher energy content, which makes it a more suitable gasoline blending fuel.

Technology Description

The production process for n-butanol from corn stover via acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation is depicted in the flowsheet. The feed handling, pretreatment and fermentation steps were compiled from a technical report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, Colo.; www.nrel.gov; NREL/TP-5100-47764, May 2011) and adapted for n-butanol production. The purification step was based on typical ABE fermentation processes.

Feed Handling

Corn-stover supply trucks send the biomass to weighting and unloading stations, followed by a short-term queuing storage and conveyors for feeding the feedstock to the pretreatment area.


The biomass, composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, is treated with dilute sulfuric acid and heated in a screw-feed reactor to convert most of the hemicellulose into fermentable sugar, such as xylose. After pretreatment, the solution is flash-cooled, and water is removed, condensed and sent to the wastewater-treatment area. The mixture is then diluted with water and its pH adjusted by adding ammonia.

United States n-Butanol Demand

Hydrolysis and Fermentation

In this step, cellulose is converted to fermentable glucose using ...


The fermentation beer is separated into acetone, ethanol and n-butanol products by ...

To access a report with more content about this process click here.