LANXESS invests $10m in US biochemical firm Gevo

26 May 2010 14:22  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--LANXESS has invested $10m (€8.1m) in US biofuel and biochemical company Gevo as part of a planned cooperation to produce isobutene from renewable resources, the Germany-based international synthetic rubber major said on Wednesday.

The companies aimed to find an alternative route to source isobutene – a key raw material needed in the manufacturing of butyl rubber, LANXESS said.

“This investment and the proposed cooperation broaden our future supply options against the background of volatile raw material prices and consolidation within the petrochemical industry,” said LANXESS chief executive Axel Heitmann.

Denver, Colorado-based Gevo was developing a fermentation process to produce the organic compound isobutanol from the fermentable sugars in biomass, starting with corn, LANXESS said.

Isobutanol was a fundamental building block for making biodiesel, bio jet fuel as well as plastics, rubber and fibres, it added. 

Gevo’s investors included French oil and petrochemicals major Total and Virgin Green Fund, a cleantech investment fund controlled by UK entrepreneur and airline-founder Richard Branson, LANXESS said.

LANXESS, which describes itself as the world’s second largest producer of butyl rubber, has plants in Sarnia, Canada, and Zwijndrecht, Belgium. In addition, the company is investing €400m in a new butyl rubber plant in Singapore which is due to start up in the first quarter of 2013.

($1 = €0.81)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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