ABE production from corn: A recent economic evaluation

N. Qureshi, H. P. Blaschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article details an economic assessment of butanol production from corn using the newly developed hyperbutanol-producing strain of Clostridium beijerinckii BA101. Butanol is produced in batch reactors and recovered by distillation. For a plant with 153,000 metric tons of acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) production capacity, the production equipment cost and total working capital cost is US$33.47 × 106 and US$110.46 × 106, respectively. Based on a corn price (Cp) of US$79.23 ton-1 (US$2.01 bushel-1), an ABE yield of 0.42 (g ABE/g glucose) butanol price is projected to be US$0.34 kg-1. An improved yield of 0.50 will reduce this price to US$0.29 kg-1. Assumptions, such as by-product credit for gases and complete conversion of corn steep liquor (CSL) to fermentation by-products, have been taken into consideration. An increased price of corn to US$197.10 ton-1 would result in a butanol price of US$0.47 kg-1. A grass-rooted plant would result in a butanol price of US$0.73 kg-1 (Cp US$79.23 ton-1). In a worst case scenario, the price of butanol would increase to US$1.07 kg-1 (Cp 197.10 ton-1 for a grass-rooted plant and assuming no credit for gases). This is based on the assumption that corn price would not increase to more than US$197.10 ton-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-297
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE)
  • Capital cost
  • Clostridium beijerinckii BA101
  • Corn
  • Corn steep liquor (CSL)
  • Fermentation
  • Plant
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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