GS Caltex, South Korea’s second largest refiner, will start construction of its highly anticipated biobutanol plant in the first half of this year, the company said. Investment in the plant is about KRW 50 billion (USD 44 million).
Biobutanol is an alternative fuel produced from biomass such as sugar, starch, straw or wood. It can be used as a transportation fuel in vehicles with internal combustion engines without any additional modifications.
While bioethanol is more widely used worldwide as an alternative fuel, where it is used in combination with petroleum gasoline, it easily absorbs moisture, which can lead to corrosion of metal parts. In contrast, biobutanol is low in solubility and corrosiveness.
GS Caltex received government funding for its 30,000 liter-per-year pilot plant at the company’s R&D center in Daejeon-city.
The global butanol market is expected to reach 4,980 kilo tonnes in 2018.