Butanol Fuel Is Coming | Boating Magazine

Butanol Fuel Is Coming

Will it replace Ethanol in fuel?

Butanol Fuel

Will Butanol replace Ethanol in fuel?

Capt. Vincent Daniello


In the spring, East Coast marinas selling Gulf fuels will offer boaters ethanol-free gasoline under the trade name Gulf Marine. Instead of 10-percent ethanol, its clean air additive (“oxygenate”) will be isobutanol at an EPA-approved concentration of 12.5 percent.

Readers who have followed previous stories about isobutanol in Boating will recall that this advanced biofuel comes from the same feedstocks (plant material) as ethanol, but that it has greater energy density (30 percent higher Btu value), and, most important for our boat engines, it does not absorb moisture or undergo phase separation. It also does not corrode or damage fuel tanks, fuel lines and engine components.

Tests run on waterways and in laboratories over the past five years with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Boat and Yacht Council, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Coast Guard, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and several other marine engine manufacturers have shown that isobutanol in blends of up to 16.1 percent (B16, now EPA-approved for off-road fuels) are safe. In fact, at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, BRP offered test rides aboard a 25-foot Crevalle powered by a 300 hp Evinrude G2 running B16.

This past summer, one marina on a lake in Missouri sold Gulf Marine, and a land-based Express Lube station in Fredericksburg, Texas, has had customers drive as far as 70 miles to buy the fuel for lawn tractors, chain saws and more. A go-kart track in Kemah, Texas (a Houston suburb), ran Gulf Marine exclusively. Meanwhile, the two companies producing isobutanol, Gevo (gevo.com) and Butamax (a joint venture of BP and DuPont; butamax.com), have reached an agreement in which each will pursue the development of markets for isobutanol; Gevo in jet fuel and Butamax in land fuels. Gevo produces the isobutanol for Gulf Marine.

The bottom line: East Coast boaters will have an opportunity to try this new biofuel in 2016. It will cost more, possibly $1.50 to $2 more per gallon. But with greater energy density and no more worries about water absorption, it will be worth exploring.

For more information on isobutanol, visit boating.mg/isobutanol.

Gulf Marinas on the U.S. East Coast:

Connecticut
Cedar Island Marina Hendel’s Oil Company Inc.
34 Riverside Drive
Clinton, CT 06413
860-669-8681
cedarislandmarina.com

Thamesport Marina
271 Pequot Ave.
New London, CT 06320
860-437-7022
thamesportmarina.com

Maryland
Annapolis Yacht Basin
2 Compromise St. Annapolis, MD 21401 410-263-3544 yachtbasin.com

New Jersey
Larsen’s Marina
14 Old Sea Isle Blvd.
Sea Isle City, NJ 08243
609-263-1554
larsensmarina.com

Lighthouse Marina
19 W. 6th St.
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
609-494-2305
lighthousemarinanj.com

New York
Bay Park Fishing Station
480A Reina Road
Oceanside, NY 11572
516-766-3110
bayparkfishing.com

Cutchogue Harbor Marina
3350 W. Creek Ave.
Cutchogue, NY 11935
631-734-6993
newsuffolkshipyard.com

Gone Fishing Marina
467 E. Lake Drive
Montauk, NY 11954
631-668-3232
gonefishingmarina78.com

Hudson Point Fishing
1 Anchorage Way
Freeport, NY 11520
516-867-9608

Island View Marina
61 Price St.
Patchogue, NY 11772
631-447-1234
islandviewmarinali.com

Mill Creek Marina
3253 Noyac Road
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
631-704-2320

Moriches Boat & Motor
200 Atlantic Ave.
E. Moriches, NY 11940
631-878-0023
morichesboatandmotor.com

Sag Harbor Cove Yacht Club
8 W. Water St.
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
631-725-1605
sagharborcoveyachtclub.com

Senix Creek Marina
50 Senix Ave.
Center Moriches, NY 11934
516-874-2092
senixmarina.com

Sonny’s Fishing Station
3640 Ocean Ave.
Seaford, NY 11783
516-785-8058

Uihlein’s Marina and Boat Rental
444 W. Lake Drive
Montauk, NY 11954
631-668-3799
uihleinsmarina.com

W.C. Esp Inc.
2141 Montauk Highway
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
631-537-0193
wcesp.com

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