Syntec & EERC Developing Biomass-to-Butanol Production Technology

Syntec Biofuel Inc. (Syntec) has entered into a joint development program with the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks for converting a wide variety of biomass and waste into bio-butanol. The core process utilizes Syntec’s catalyst technology in conjunction with an upgrading process exclusively licensed from the EERC Foundation.

Butanol has a high purity and energy level and can be used in a variety of ways, including as a fuel in internal combustion engines. Because its hydrocarbon chain is twice that of ethanol. Bio-butanol is also used as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical and textile processes, as a chemical intermediate for organic synthesis, as a base for perfumes and paint thinners, and as a solvent in other coating applications.

“We are not aware of any other company in the world that is developing a thermochemical process utilizing nonfood materials to predominantly produce bio-butanol. In a joint venture with DuPont, BP is building a demonstration plant in the United Kingdom to convert sugar into bio-butanol. This is concerning, as it uses food resources to produce fuel,” said said Michael Jackson, CEO of Syntec.

According to Syntec, the United States accounts for approximately two-thirds of the global market for butanol, estimated at approximately 370 million gallons per year and growing. The butanol market currently sees prices in the US $5-6 per gallon range.


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