A Promising Future for Butanol

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Courtesy of ASTM International

With several beneficial attributes that make it a good blending agent in gasoline, butanol continues to hold promise for use as a biofuel. It is compatible with existing vehicles and refueling infrastructure. Low vapor pressure, high octane number and favorable distillation properties all add to the high blending value of butanol.

Now, a new ASTM International standard will be used in isobutanol manufacturing to test its purity for use in the chemical and fuel markets. The new standard is D7875, Test Method for Determination of Butanol and Acetone Content of Butanol for Blending with Gasoline by Gas Chromatography. Isobutanol manufacturers and quality laboratories that work with fuels will be the primary users of D7875.

“Isobutanol is going into a blend of gasoline for use in automobiles, all terrain vehicles, boats, lawn mowers and snowblowers,” says ASTM member Glenn Johnston, executive vice president, regulatory affairs, Gevo Inc. “It is also being used in many chemical applications that include paints and coatings.”

D7875 was developed by Subcommittee D02.04.0L on Gas Chromatography Methods, part of ASTM International Committee D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants. The new standard is based on an annex that previously appeared in ASTM D7862, Specification for Butanol for Blending with Gasoline for Use as Automotive Spark-Ignition Engine Fuel.

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