Biobutanol Production from Biomass

Johanna Niemisto, Paula Saavalainen, Ritva Isomaki, Tanja Kolli, Mika Huuhtanen and Riitta L. Keiski

Abstract There is a demand for the increased production and usage of biofuels from both environmental and a political point of view. Biobutanol has great potential to become a novel replacement fuel for gasoline and diesel or an additive compound of these fuels in the future. This chapter reveals the superior fuel properties of butanol over ethanol, including better energy content, usability, safety, and easier distribution of the fuel. Traditional biochemical (acetone-butanol-ethanol fermen­tation) and chemical production processes of butanol are reviewed. In addition, the novel production routes of biobutanol are highlighted. Challenges in the imple­mentation of feasible biochemical production processes of butanol in industrial scale include cost of raw materials, low product yield from fermentation, and expensive processing techniques. Process development techniques and different methods in order to increase the yield of fermentative butanol production by means of for instance new processing technologies and metabolic engineering are discussed.

17.1 Introduction

The interest for production and usage of biofuels is promoted by limited fossil fuel resources, environmental concerns and tightening legislation regarding the use of fossil fuels as well as release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions in the air. The share of biofuels in transportation fuel markets is expected to grow rapidly during the next decades. Bioethanol and biodiesel are currently the dominant

J. Niemisto (H) • P. Saavalainen • R. Isomaki • T. Kolli • M. Huuhtanen • R. L. Keiski Mass and Heat Transfer Process Laboratory, Department of Process and Environmental Engineering, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland e-mail: johanna. niemisto@oulu. fi

V. K. Gupta and M. G. Tuohy (eds.), Biofuel Technologies,

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-34519-7_17, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013 biobased fuels in transportation. However, new alternative renewable fuels are also needed to fulfill the increasing fuel demands in the future. With many advanta­geous properties and numerous utilization ways, biobutanol has a great potential to become a novel renewable biofuel alternative for the fuel and chemical market.

Although there are several alternatives for the production of butanol from biomass-based materials, butanol is produced nowadays mainly via catalytic processes starting from fossil fuels. This review chapter points out the shortages of biomass-based processes and focuses on the target points for process developments needed in order to gain a feasible and competitive biobutanol production process.

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