2013 R&D 100 Winner
ITRI ButyFixThe alcohol compound butanol has many attractive characteristics in comparison with common ethanol, including a higher heating value and compatibility with existing gasoline engines. Currently processed from fossil fuels, butanol has the potential to be created through fermentation. Acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE fermentation has existed for decades, but has not succeeded as a scalable, industrial method. Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has developed a butanol production technology, called ButyFix, which is designed to meet real-world production requirements and also fulfill biofuel's mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ButyFix functions on two key chemical processes: cellulose and hemicellulose hydrolysis conversion into sugar and sugar fermentation into butyrate. The technology produces butanol by first fermenting sugars to produce butyrate. To create butanol from butyrate, ITRI uses proprietary processes to regulate certain genes in specially adapted microorganisms and re-directs carbon dioxide generated during fermentation to the desired pathway where the carbon dioxide can be re-utilized, achieving a high yield of butyrate. ITRI has demonstrated that ButyFix generates a solvent yield of 0.70g/g-sugar—a 94% conversion of carbon. this result corresponds to a 57% increase over traditional ABE processes.

Butanol production technology

Industrial Technology Research Institute

Development Team

Industrial Technology Research Institute's ButyFix development team. Front row (l-r): Yun-Huin Lin, Chin-Chen Hsu, Chiang-Hsuing (Alex) Tong, Hom-Ti Lee, Yi-Te Chou. Back row (l-r): Shao-Wen Wu, Hsin-Tzu Kuo, Shih-Chan Tseng, Hou-Peng Wan, Hui-Tsung Lin, Ruey-Fu Shih, Jheng-Jin Luo, Jia-Yuan Chen, Ying-Ching Su, Chih-Fen Lu, Chen-Pang Liu, Wei-Chun Hung, Chang-Chieh Chen.


The ButyFix Team from Industrial Technology Research Institute
Chiang-Hsiung (Alex) Tong, Principal Developer
Chang-Chieh Chen
Jia-Yuan Chen
Yi-Te Chou
Wei-Chun Hung
Chin-Chen Hsu
Hsin-Tzu Kuo
Hom-Ti Lee
Chen-Pang Liu
Hui-Tsung Lin
Yun-Huin Lin
Chih-Fen Lu
Jheng-Jin Luo
Wan-Ting Ma
Ruey-Fu Shih
Ying-Ching Su
Shih-Chan Tseng
Hou-Peng Wan
Shao-Wen Wu
Hsiu-Yin Yin