Carbon Footprint & Other Benefits Don't go calling us tree-huggers just yet, but the benefits of moving to a fuel like biobutanol goes beyond just the time and money savings mentioned above. Since the production of biobutanol can utilize a variety of conventional feedstocks such as sugar cane, sugar beet, corn, wheat, cassava, and sorghum as the base ingredient, farmers benefit by having an additional sales outlet for their crops. Plus, biobutanol's ability to be processed from agricultural byproducts means that waste can be converted into fuel.

Outside of the benefits to American farming, DuPont and BP are jointly analyzing biobutanol's emissions performance using the Argonne National Laboratory's Green House Gas Well-to-Wheel/Life Cycle Analysis Program. The early indications are that biobutanol delivers emission reductions that are at least as good as ethanol when using the same base feedstock.

The Future Don't think for a minute that this is all some pipe dream coming out some university's big ivory tower. Although 100 percent biobutanol as a racing fuel is still a ways off, a Dyson Racing Mazda-powered Lola LMP2 American LeMans Series Coupe successfully ran a blend of ethanol and biobutanol at this year's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Could biobutanol be the next methanol? Less corrosive, higher energy content, renewable, and it can be made from agricultural waste . . . why not?