Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Butanol is a primary alcohol most commonly used industrially as a solvent. It is largely produced petrochemically using fossil fuel feedstocks. The global butanol market has steadily increased in recent years and is projected to continue increasing at an annual rate of 3.2%. Additionally, the possibility of introducing butanol to the fuel market presents the opportunity to further grow the industry. Because of the increasing demand and its production from fossil fuels, there is a need to manufacture butanol more sustainably and efficiently to help the environment and improve the world economy. Currently, biobutanol is not produced commercially; however, its development has reached the pilot plant stage in several locations around the world. Current research and development efforts can be improved. There are two main methods of production, the Acetone Butanol Ethanol (ABE) process and a two-step fermentation process. Neither method is commercially viable. The Hogdrogenation process improves upon the second step of the two-step fermentation process. Experimental data shows a 100% conversion rate for butyric acid, and 88% selectivity for butanol can be achieved at a temperature of 349°F and a residence time of 1.13min. Through a careful economic analysis of a full scale design, the process is shown to be economically favorable. The selected full scale plant produces 30 million gal/year; the fixed capital investment is $154,488,948 and the operating cost is $58,642,217. At a selling price of $4.00 per gallon, the rate of return on investment is 37.8% with a net present value following a ten year lifetime of $17.02 million.