Oxfordshire, UK-based biotech institute Green Biologics has received GBP250,000 from the UK Department of Trade and Industry-led Technology Program and GBP310,000 from shareholder investors and business angels to help develop a 'next-generation' biofuel that will be better for the environment.

The funding will help Green Biologics to develop a method of manufacturing biobutanol, having been identified as a superior ‘next-generation’ biofuel for transport, which will cut the cost of production by up to a third. At present, biobutanol is used only as a chemical feed for stock. Its high production costs have prevented it being widely used as a fuel.

Biofuels, such as biobutanol, are sustainable and environmentally friendly ‘next-generation’ fuels that will extend, and ultimately replace, fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel, stated Green Biologics founder and CEO Dr Edward Green. Although butanol is not currently used as a biofuel, it has a number of properties that make it extremely attractive. It is a renewable liquid fuel, produced from the fermentation of sugars, which can easily be integrated into the existing fuel infrastructure by blending with petrol. Unlike bioethanol, it offers similar energy per liter to petrol, has low vapor pressure and is easy to store, handle and transport via pipelines.

As well as its attempt to curb CO2 emissions, the European Union has suggested that biofuels should account for 5.75% of total fuel sales by 2010. More recently, the European Commission proposed that biofuels should make up 10% of total fuel sales by 2020, representing a huge increase in the market for biofuels.

In addition to this, the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will, from April 2008, implement a new regulation whereby fuel suppliers are required to ensure that an increasing percentage of their total fuel sales are made up of biofuels by 2020.