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Environment

Butanol as fuel

November 13, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 46

The impression I came away with after reading about the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) efforts to convert biomass to ethanol is that James McMillan's "vision" is not keen enough to stimulate an effort on NREL's part to produce butanol instead of ethanol (C&EN, Aug. 28, page 16). If that is the correct conclusion, then I wonder why that is the case. The information I have seen on cellulose-to-fuel seems to support the notion that butanol is a superior fuel end product and permits a wider array of feedstock. Are the barriers hindering interest in butanol anything other than political?

R. K. Hessley
Cincinnati

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