Chemicals from biobutanol: technologies and markets



This review provides a technical description of the range of commercial products that can be accessed from n-butanol, with specific emphasis on n-butanol derived from renewable sources (biobutanol). n-Butanol itself and primary derivatives in which the oxygen functionality of the molecule is retained (butyraldehyde and butyric acid) have mainstream applications in the solvent, polymer, fuel oxygenate, and/or specialty chemical markets, while butanol dehydration products (butenes and butadiene) present additional opportunities in the hydrocarbon fuel and synthetic elastomers markets. The volume and value of these markets are noted and specific applications of first- and second-generation n-butanol derivatives are discussed. Selected technologies for the conversion of butenes into other valuable olefins are described and current biobutanol producers and technology providers are identified and profiled. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd