Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Argonne Finds Butanol is Good for Boats


National lab works with marine industry to demonstrate benefits of new fuel for boating

The battle for cleaner, greener fuels isn't fought solely on land – America’s rivers, lakes and surrounding seas are home to 17 million recreational boats keeping more than 75 million weekend warriors afloat each year.

Photo by Thomas Wallner, Argonne National Laboratory.

Jeff Wasil (front) of Bombardier Recreational Products and John Adey of the American Boat and Yacht Council testing the 16 percent butanol fuel.

All that fun in the sun comes with a cost, however, particularly in terms of burnt fuel and emissions.

In an effort to reduce boating's environmental impact, the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with industry to investigate alternative fuels for recreational marine applications.

The laboratory, in collaboration with industrial partner Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), and with support from the marine industry, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and American Boat and Yacht Council, has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of a blend of fuel that includes 16 percent butanol for use in watercraft.

This demonstration has culminated in the approval of the fuel by the NMMA, a development sure to make waves in the boating arena.

The newly approved fuel has the potential to serve as an alternative to the 15 percent ethanol blend for much of the recreational boating fleet.

The approval is the result of several years of cooperative research between BRP and Argonne, whose research was funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The research involved the evaluation of performance, efficiency and emissions, including particulates, as well as durability and lubrication effects over a wide range of recreational boat engine types and sizes from several manufacturers.

“Butanol at 16 percent blend level works as well as ethanol at 10 percent under tested conditions,” said Argonne’s Thomas Wallner, a principal investigator at the laboratory’s Center for Transportation Research. “There was a push to increase the amount of ethanol in fuel, from 10 to 15 percent,” he said.

Wallner had previous experience researching butanol for cars and trucks, but boats were new territory.

Increasing the percentage of bioenergy in the boating mix would provide environmental benefits, however, the technologies used by a significant percentage of boats, such as carburetors and open-loop controls, are not immediately well-suited to the further addition of ethanol in fuel. Furthermore, infrequent usage patterns typical for recreational boats can cause challenges at increased ethanol levels. Because ethanol attracts water, dormancy can allow the surrounding water to enter the fuel tank and form a layer inside, adversely affecting engine performance.

Butanol, on the other hand, lacks the water attraction properties of ethanol, mitigating the potential engine performance issue.

Beyond the performance benefits, butanol offers an additional advantage: it can be made from the same feedstock as ethanol. Essentially, butanol provides the environmental benefits without the issues that can be caused by increased ethanol use – a breakthrough made possible through strategic collaboration between Argonne and its industrial partners.

For more information visit:

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. Argonne is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

Contact Information
Greg Cunningham
Communications Lead
Phone: 630-252-8232

Greg Cunningham | newswise

Further reports about: Boats Butanol EMISSIONS Energy alternative fuels environmental benefits fuels

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>