Through partnerships and collaborations we are advancing technologies that address the n-butanol chemical market. n-Butanol is a widely used industrial feedstock for the production of other chemicals such as acrylate/methacrylate esters, glycol ethers, n-butyl acetate and amino resins. Additionally, it is used as a solvent or ingredient in product formulations. The list of solvent applications include paints, coatings, varnishes, vegetable oils, fats, and alkaloids. Formulated goods include cosmetics, floor polishes, cleaners, brake fluid and flotation agents.
Subsequently, the 2010 global market for n-butanol was reported to be ~$5 billion (USD) with a broad geographic distribution shown below.
Furthermore, n-butanol demand is expected to grow at an aggressive rate over the next three to five years. Some reports suggest a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) upwards of 11%, which will be largely dominated by growth in emerging markets.
AN EYE TOWARDS THE FUTURE - A POTENTIALLY MUCH BIGGER FUTURE
n-Butanol also addresses the renewable biofuel market mandated by United States (U.S.) Energy Policy Act of 2005, and updated by the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. According to the modified Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS2), the U.S. alone is targeting production of 36 billion gallons per year or 2022.
As gasoline extender or alternative alone, n-butanol can access a >$40 billion USD per year market. Compared to ethanol, n-butanol has higher energy content, is less volatile, and is less hygroscopic. Thus as a biofuel, butanol exhibits the following advantages compared to ethanol1:
Lastly, there are opportunities for n-butanol to serve as a feedstock to jet fuel. An assortment of technologies exist and continue to be developed that dehydrate n-butanol to 1-butene, and then go onto to polymerize 1-butene into a suitable jet fuel.