Ethanol meets competition that uses everything for fuel

By Automotive Staff | February 07, 2008
Wesay ethanol and you say butanol, let’s call the whole thing off. Seriously though, what’s better, ethanol or butanol as an alternative fuel for our cars? Plant biomass parts like corn fiber, husks and straws, materials that contain a high amount of cellulose is being used to make butanol. This is believed to be better because it is less corrosive and has an higher energy value than ethanol. Lars Angenent, who is leading research into the creation of butanol at Washington University in St. Louis, says butanol could be superior to ethanol. The advantage, he says, isthat the advantage to convert just about any waste materials into “something valuable.” He asserts that lignocellulosic biomass is plentiful and renewable. And thus sustainable. Our take? Start manufacturing butanol and let the market decide the winner.