Butamax®      
History


As commercial production of bio-isobutanol approaches, a vision conceived over a decade ago draws rapidly closer to becoming reality.

DuPont and BP identify the target product for their advanced biofuels collaboration, selecting biobutanol for its feedstock versatility, retrofit potential, and fundamental technology efficiency, which is equal to that of ethanol. Biobutanol also offers a blendwall solution, making it highly valuable to refiners, and a useful chemical building block for a wide range of industrial chemicals.
Foundational patent applications for our biobutanol production technology are filed, paving the way for the first new fuel molecule to hit the market in nearly 20 years.
Putting proprietary technology to work, BP and DuPont join hands to help introduce a biobutanol production process offering that allows economic and environmental advantages needed for the biofuel to succeed on a global scale. In cooperation the two companies approve the funding to form a joint research program. This foundational effort leverages BP’s expertise in producing ethanol and other advanced fuel products, as well as DuPont’s world-class industrial biotechnology capabilities and technology partners.
BP scientists report on extensive fuel and vehicle testing which demonstrates that butanol-blended gasoline is highly compatible with existing vehicle fleets and offers excellent performance without compromising on reliability or emissions.
DuPont and BP scientists demonstrate how their bio-isobutanol technology could be implemented at a competitive cost. Market analysis shows the product would be highly valued by refiners, while adhering to applicable regulations in the U.S. and Europe. The decision is made to commercialize this technology.
BP and DuPont join forces to create Butamax® Advanced Biofuels, a joint venture with the mission of commercializing bio-isobutanol as a transport fuel. Experts across the globe are enlisted to bring bio-isobutanol to commercial fruition.
Butamax builds a demonstration plant to test processes and technology components. The U.K. facility focuses on new technology risk mitigation at the demonstration level with the aim of offering future licensees a smooth commercial startup and sustainable value. Meanwhile, in Brazil, Butamax establishes a fermentation laboratory to develop preliminary data to support the future manufacturing of bio-isobutanol from sugarcane.
Butamax announces the formation of the Early Adopters Group (EAG), a collaborative effort among leading biofuel production facilities to introduce bio-isobutanol to the market and match production volumes to demand. Highwater Ethanol is named the founding member of the EAG, which currently consists of seven companies representing 10 facilities and nearly 750 million gallons per year in production volume.
With considerable resources dedicated to the Butamax mission, over 150 people worldwide are now dedicated to making bio-isobutanol a commercial reality. In addition to our Demonstration Facility in the U.K., we have biotechnology and fuel technology facilities in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and India. We also have business teams in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The depth and breadth of our team’s experience is complemented by our ability to tap the tactical expertise of our parent companies as needed.
Joint research between Butamax and UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global leader in product testing and certification, confirms that blends of up to 16% bio-isobutanol can be used safely and successfully in fuel storage and dispensing equipment meeting UL’s latest standards. It’s a significant milestone on the road to commercialization, as UL’s guidance will clear the way for state government agencies to consider and approve the dispensing of bio-isobutanol-gasoline fuel blends.
The Advanced Biofuel Program is initiated. The search is on for a high-value fuel molecule that can be manufactured economically from abundant feedstocks, and enable production synergies.