Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

Napier welcomes Hong Kong’s green guru

Published on Monday 30 April 2012 12:00

HONG Kong’s secretary for the environment has heard from a Capital biofuel expert during an official visit to Scotland.

Edward Yau toured the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University as part of a European green technology trip encompassing cities in Sweden, Denmark, Scotland and England. As part of the Scottish leg, Mr Yau also met with Minister for Environment and Climate Change, MSP Stewart Stevenson.

Napier has strong links with Hong Kong’s growing renewables sector, working with biofuel sector players including airline Cathay Pacific.

Mr Yau’s visit to the university follows a visit by the current chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, in September 2011.

Professor Martin Tangney, director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Napier, said: “It was an honour to welcome Mr Yau and the Hong Kong delegation to the campus, and to be able to share some of the successes we’ve achieved.”

Biofuel Research Centre

The Biofuel Research Centre undertakes research into biofuel, product analysis and provides information on biofuel to academia, government and businesses. We look at ways in which biofuels including biobutanol can be used in everyday life, thus reducing environmental impacts of fossil fuels.

Our research involves the analysis of industrial biomass for conversion to biofuel, and research into new and sustainable sources.

We also work with businesses in Scotland to encourage the use of sustainable renewable energies as an alternative energy source. We can offer businessesfeasibility funding and provide a broad range of business support functions including a range of free workshops.

Watch our video on new super ‘whisky’ biofuel to power cars. Contact us to find out more

> B

Biobutanol – the superior biofuel

Butanol is a 4-carbon alcohol originally central to a number of industrial chemical processes. It is now recognised as an important transport fuel – with superior characteristics to ethanol.

Butanol is produced by solventogenic clostridia via the Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol fermentation. The history of the ABE fermentation stretches back to the early 1900s and it was once only second to ethanol as the largest industrial fermentation. Its demise was ultimately triggered by the availability of cheaper alternatives from the petrochemical industry. The search for a sustainable biofuel has now established biobutanol as a important transportation fuel.

Butanol as a transport biofuel

Unlike conventional biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel that are mainly derived from food-based feedstocks, biobutanol is an advanced biofuel that can be derived from non-food sources and used as a stand alone transportation fuel or blended with petrol or diesel. Its inherent chemical properties make it superior to ethanol for use in combustion engines:

  • With 4 carbons, butanol has more energy than ethanol – 25% more energy per unit volume.
  • Butanol has a lower vapour pressure and higher flashpoint than ethanol, making it easier to store and safer to handle.
  • Butanol is not hygroscopic while ethanol attracts water. Ethanol has to be blended with petrol shortly before use. Butanol can be blended at a refinery without requiring modifications in blending facilities, storage tanks or retail station pumps.
  • Butanol can run in unmodified engines at any blend with petrol. Ethanol can only be blended up to 85% and requires engine modification.
  • Unlike ethanol, butanol may also be blended with diesel and biodiesel.
  • Butanol is less corrosive than ethanol and can be transported using existing infrastructures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *