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GS Caltex to build plant for biobutanol in H1

GS Caltex will begin the construction of a plant for mass-production of biobutanol, a renewable biofuel for cars that can be used as a substitute for gasoline, during the first half of this year, the Korean oil refiner said Thursday.

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. 

GS Caltex engineers do research on biobutanol. (GS Caltex)
GS Caltex engineers do research on biobutanol. (GS Caltex)

Currently, another biofuel, bioethanol, is widely used in the transportation industry. But it easily absorbs moisture which corrodes metal parts.

However, according to company officials, biobutanol can be used without further investment in infrastructure as it is low in solubility and corrosiveness.

Even though domestic research on biobutanol started in the 1980s, full-scale research commenced in the late 2000s, and GS Caltex took eight years from 2007 to develop this new generation fuel, they said.

Meanwhile, the petroleum-based butanol’s global supply hit 3,970 kilo tons in 2013, in which Asia took up 50 percent of the total market. The global butanol market is expected to exceed over 4,980 kilo tons in 2018, according to industry watchers.

By Lee Seo-young (