You ethanol lovers will like this.. a new way to produce gasoline, diesel or JetA from corn.. and no energy intensive distillation of the brew is used, if the bugs are effective and fast this could revolutionize biofuels.. but note that butanol is a valuable industrial material:
Berkeley researchers integrate ABE fermentation and chemical catalysis to produce bio-hydrocarbon blend stocks from sugars at high yields
"Nevertheless, Blanch said, the process by which the Clostridium bacteria convert sugar or starch to these three chemicals is very efficient. This led him and his laboratory to investigate ways of separating the fermentation products that would use less energy than the common method of distillation.
They discovered that several organic solvents, in particular glyceryl tributyrate (tributyrin), could extract the acetone and butanol from the fermentation broth while not extracting much ethanol. Tributyrin is not toxic to the bacterium and, like oil and water, doesn’t mix with the broth.
Brought together by the EBI, Blanch and Clark found that Toste had discovered a catalytic process that preferred exactly that proportion of acetone, butanol and ethanol to produce a range of hydrocarbons, primarily ketones.
The extractive fermentation process uses less than 10 percent of the energy of a conventional distillation to get the butanol and acetone out—that is the big energy savings. And the products go straight into the chemistry in the right ratios, it turns out.