Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC

- Ethanol


At Butamax, we are developing a comprehensive licensing package to supply current ethanol operations with new renewable fuel technologies enabling the economically advantaged production of biobutanol.

As a fully resourced technology provider, Butamax is committed to ensuring the effective scale-up of our biobutanol technology over the long term. Backed by the resources of our shareholders, Butamax is leveraging hundreds of collective years of successful scale-up experience through process piloting and risk mitigation at our state-of-the-art Demonstration Facility in the U.K.

Butamax is currently building relationships with refining customers for biobutanol, and will provide a secure, high-value market for all biobutanol produced. In addition, we will offer a full range of services—including ongoing consultancy and technical support—to assist current ethanol producers in retrofitting their facilities to produce biobutanol. For our refiner and producer partners, our rigorous technology development and commercialization strategy ensure competitive positioning in the automotive fuels market with potential in other industries.

Butamax and Highwater Ethanol have begun to retrofit Highwater’s ethanol plant in Lamberton, Minnesota for the production of biobutanol. Butamax’s cutting-edge technology package will include the installation of novel corn oil separation technology, which is an integral part of the full retrofit, and available for installation independently of the first phase of conversion.

Butamax has devoted significant resources to the demonstration phase of our proprietary biobutanol technology. That includes operating a $50 million Demonstration Facility in the U.K. and years of piloting efforts at multiple locations.

Demonstration of BiobutanolWe believe Butamax is the only company that has invested significantly in the critical phase of piloting new biobutanol technology, and are convinced this phase of risk mitigation is essential to a successful transition to commercial-scale production.

Our cutting-edge Demonstration Facility is a large-scale experimental plant that incorporates collectively hundreds of years of experience and deep proprietary knowledge in effective technology development and commercialization. Leveraging the expertise of our shareholders, this technologically advanced facility was built in Hull, U.K., specifically to execute testing for commercial plant design, technology risk mitigation, and ongoing technology improvement.

Butamax understands the difficulty of taking new technology to scale, and we are actively developing processes to facilitate the transition for our partners. At our Demonstration Facility, sophisticated measurement and analytical equipment provides us with a deep understanding of how our biofuel technology will perform in commercial settings.

An overview of our $50 million Demonstration Facility:

  • Flexible technology demonstration unit built to test multiple processes and technology components
  • 38 experts in technology scale-up and operations
  • Focused on risk mitigation for rapid scale-up of Butamax biobutanol technology

Our approach to the demonstration of our proprietary biofuel technology has naturally progressed at various production scales to generate the data needed to build commercial facilities. This work has taken place on numerous scales at multiple locations, including the Demonstration Facility and commercial ethanol production facilities. Our Technology Demonstration team fulfilled an exciting request and rose to the challenge when we produced biobutanol for BP to use in fueling portions of the official fleet at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.


Butamax technology offers significant benefits for both the fuel industry and chemical producers.

The Biofuel of the Future

In a world that is increasingly turning its attention toward the absolute necessity of sustainability, we are constantly looking for better, smarter, more efficient and economical ways to expand our energy supplies.

That’s where biofuels like biobutanol come in. The mission of Butamax from its founding has been to apply new developments in biotechnology to create a new biofuel which multiplies the advantages which biofuels can deliver in the very near term.

Biobutanol is an alcohol that can be produced from renewable, organic material (biomass) including corn, wheat, sugarcane and—in the future—non-food plants. This advantaged biofuel was developed to accelerate the shift toward renewable transportation fuels that lower overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Generally blended with gasoline, biobutanol can be used to fuel cars and other vehicles. It can be combined with gasoline on its own or alongside ethanol to help enhance that biofuel’s performance in a fuel blend.

Gasoline DisplacementWith its higher energy content, biobutanol can displace 16% of every gallon of hydrocarbon gasoline. That’s 17 billion gallons of gasoline per year—more than the annual fuel consumption of the state of California.*

* Source: U.S. Department of Energy / Energy Information Agency Annual Energy Outlook 2013, Early Release

  • Compared with ethanol, biobutanol’s energy content is closer to that of gasoline. That means less compromise on fuel economy, which is particularly important as the amount of biofuel in the fuel blend increases.
  • It has a low vapor pressure, meaning it can be easily added to conventional gasoline.
  • Biobutanol can be used in higher blend concentrations than ethanol without requiring specially adapted vehicles, and will not force automakers to compromise onperformance in order to meet environmental regulations.
    • Fuel specifications in the U.S., for example, allow biobutanol to be blended to 16% by volume—versus 10% by volume for ethanol—without compromising performance, durability, fuel economy or emissions. We believe actual blend limits for biobutanol usage in existing vehicles may be even higher.
    • A 16% by volume biobutanol blend offers consumers the same fuel economy as a 10% by volume ethanol blend, while providing double the energy from renewable sources and double the GHG benefits.
  • Because biobutanol/gasoline blends are less susceptible to separation in the presence of water than ethanol/gasoline blends and are less corrosive, biobutanol can use the industry’s existing distribution infrastructure without requiring modifications to blending facilities, storage tanks or retail station pumps.

With all of its economic and environmental benefits, when will biobutanol become a component in fuels on sale to consumers?

The future of commercially available renewable transportation fuels is closer than you might think. Butamax intends to start commercial production of butanol in the near future.

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