University of Bristol researchers develop way to convert ethanol into butanol from fermentation broths

December 6, 2017 |

In the UK, chemists at the University of Bristol have made the first steps towards making sustainable petrol using beer as a key ingredient. Scientists from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry have been working for several years to develop technology that will convert widely-available ethanol into butanol.

This has already been demonstrated in laboratory conditions with pure, dry ethanol but, if this technology is to be scaled up, it needs to work with real ethanol fermentation broths.

These contain a lot of water (about 90 percent) and other impurities, so the new technology has to be developed to tolerate that.

The Bristol team’s key finding is that their catalysts will convert beer (or specifically, the ethanol in beer) into butanol.

In demonstrating that catalysts work with a ‘real’ ethanol mixture, the team have demonstrated a key step in scaling this technology up to industrial application.

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Category: Research

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