To Be, or Not to Be…Butanol and The Case of a Global Sustainable Society
by Dr Kapil S Lokare (Biofuels Digest/Emerging Technologies Division of Lee Enterprises Consulting, Inc.) … Globally it has been recognized that there is an urgent need to create paradigm shifting disruptive technology that would help sustain individual economies – with the goal to sustain life on earth. Events such as the 1973-oil crisis or the fuel price panic after Hurricane Katrina including other geopolitical considerations across the globe have sparked an urgent interest in achieving a transition from non-renewable carbon resources to renewable bio-resources.
Eventually a number of start-ups and joint ventures flourished since early 2000.
All have targeted iso-butanol over n-butanol production via modifications or developments of the classic anaerobic conversion of lactic acid and calcium lactate developed by Louis Pasteur in 1862 or the ABE (acetone, butanol, ethanol) fermentation process pioneered by Chaim Weizmann during World War 1, to produce cordite (a family of smokeless propellants). Numerous attempts toward the biosynthesis of iso-butanol have been made, yet the concentrations of butanol in the fermentation broth are not satisfactory. A number of strategies have been pursued to reduce the apparent toxicity of butanol to cells, including over expression of heat shock proteins, modification of the cell membrane, and alteration of the cellular stress response. READ MORE