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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Has anyone tried running the Volt on any form of butanol (iso-butanol, bio-butanol, etc)? Blended with gasoline, ethanol, or 100% butanol?

I have heard it is a "drop in replacement" for gasoline from many sources, but I am curious if there are any hazards to fuel system or emissions components? I assume this will void the warranty if GM figures out I have been using it, but I would like to investigate the possibility anyway. I would of course start out with experiments with a small lawnmower engine, work up to trying it in my older gas burner car first, then the Volt only when I was comfortable with it, but I wanted to see if that would be a waste of time or if someone here has already tried the above.

I have looked for methods or kits to make your own biobutanol, but it does not seem like this has taken off the way biodiesel has. Are there recipes or kits out there that I am just not finding?

Anyone know a good source for bio-butanol in 10-100gal quantities?

Thanks
-DH
 

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Does it come in 92 octane?

One issue for the Volt is that the fuel may sit in the tank for months on end before any gets burned. For example 70% - 80% of my driving is 100% electric. My engine never starts unless I need to take an occasional long trip.

How stable is that iso-butanol for long term storage? Does it separate after a while? Does it get stale or moldy?

The Volt's computer is set up to expect that you have 92 octane premium fuel in the tank. The computer program is expecting the long term storage characteristics of 92 octane premium fuel. After the fuel has been sitting for about a year... The Volt's computer will force the engine to burn off at least 50% of the fuel to prevent it from getting stale. If the iso-butanol has significantly different storage characteristics you would likely have issues.

Theoretically you might be able re-program the computer to deal with the storage characteristics for iso-butanol. You might also deal with it by manually skipping a charge for a few days forcing the engine to run more often. But re-programming the Volt is not really possible. The Volt is NOT an open source project. GM does not make it easy to fiddle and tweek with the over 200 microprocessors in the car.

My question to you is: Why would you bother with iso-butanol in a Volt? If you own a Volt presumably you are mostly running your car on electricity. Volt owners rarely need to burn gas. If you are driving the car significantly more than 40 miles a day where you need to burn so much gasoline... You should probably be driving another type of vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Does it come in 92 octane?
Not sure, but I will definitely check for this in specifications before buying!

For example 70% - 80% of my driving is 100% electric.
95+% electric in daily driving here. Which is exactly why it is possible for me to consider buying tens of gallons of biobutanol to cover the once a month trip over 100 mi/day, or the twice a year 500+ mi trip. I ruled it out for my 30mpg Mazda 6 for cost and hassle factor. But the Volt makes biobutanol more likely to be reasonable, which is why I am revisiting this question at all.


How stable is that iso-butanol for long term storage? Does it separate after a while? Does it get stale or moldy?
From what I have read it is more stable and less hydrophilic than ethanol, but not sure how it compares to gasoline. But I have been reading mostly secondary and tertiary sources, which is why I am checking here. Anyone have a good primary source about butanol stability, especially in sealed barrels or similar?

Theoretically you might be able re-program the computer to deal with the storage characteristics for iso-butanol.
Definitely not planning on reprogramming or physically modifying anything. Its either a zero modification replacement or I rule it out. I am willing to accept a bit of inconvenience, however, and could always manually "fuel maintenance" as necessary.
 

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From the Wikipedia article (I assume you have read that..): Butanol better tolerates water contamination and is less corrosive than ethanol and more suitable for distribution through existing pipelines for gasoline. In blends with diesel or gasoline, butanol is less likely to separate from this fuel than ethanol if the fuel is contaminated with water

Also from the article: While ethanol and methanol have lower energy densities than butanol, their higher octane number allows for greater compression ratio and efficiency

There is a lot more info in that article. My first concern would be - since the octane rating of straight Butanol is too low to be safe, where are you going to get Gasoline that does Not already have Ethanol blended to use as a blend for the Butanol? At least here in the Northeast part of the country it's not Possible to find non-ethanol "enriched" gas..
 

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Hey, you think this mushroom is safe to eat? I have plenty of other food available, but what about this mushroom? :)

I recall another brave pioneer that pulled the battery pack's safety switch under the driver's center arm rest. He needed a tow to the dealer and a dealer reset of the car's battery system to get the car running again.

If you do this fuel mixology, let us know how it goes. Maybe it will work, or...
 
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