Let’s Talk Chemistry!

From World War I Artillery to Your BBQ

GreenFlame® Charcoal Lighter Fluid is a  biobased, sustainable product that addresses consumers’ concerns about potentially harmful chemicals associated with fossil fuels. It delivers the best attributes of conventional petroleum-based lighter fluid (instant lighting and vigorous combustion) without imparting petroleum tastes and by-products.

The key ingredient in GreenFlame fluid is n-butanol, a product of fermentation, specifically what chemists call the Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol (ABE) fermentation process. ABE fermentation was discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1861, but came to prominence in World War I, when the British chemist Chaim Weizmann invented a process for using Clostridia bacteria to produce high-purity acetone, a key component of the smokeless propellant cordite. Starch or molasses was fermented to yield acetone, butanol and ethanol. The process was gradually replaced by petroleum- based technologies and by the 1980s was no longer employed. (Later in life, Weizmann was the first President of Israel.)

Green Biologics, Ltd., a U.K. industrial biotechnology and renewable specialty chemicals company, has developed and commercialized a proprietary, modern approach to ABE fermentation that vastly improved the efficiency of n-butanol production. Today, Green Biologics ferments Minnesota-grown corn at its facility in Little Falls, MN to produce the main component to its GreenFlame charcoal lighter. In addition to being an agriculturally-derived, sustainable product, GreenFlame lighter fluid is clean-burning, nearly smokeless and priced competitively with traditional petroleum-based lighter fluids.


R.H. Blake
Bruce Blake

For Green Biologics, Inc.
David Anderson — Global VP Marketing