US Gevo, Beta Renewables to work on isobutanol from non-food biomass

10 July 2012 15:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Gevo has signed an agreement to work with Italy's Beta Renewables on developing an integrated process for the production of bio-based isobutanol from non-food cellulosic biomass, the US-based renewable chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

The project would, if successful, enable production of renewable and competitively-priced jet fuel as well as other fuels and chemicals made from isobutanol, Gevo said.

Production plants would be located in areas were cellulosic feedstocks such as switchgrass, miscanthus, agriculture residues and other biomass are readily available, it added.

Gevo has always said that we are feedstock agnostic and, when the technology and feedstock supply chain are ready, we would use our isobutanol process with cellulosic feedstocks,” said chief operating officer and president Chris Ryan.

“With the success of our Luverne, Minnesota, plant start-up and Beta Renewables’ cellulosic sugar technology, we’re ready to position Gevo to be on the forefront of cellulosic isobutanol and isobutanol derivatives, such as jet fuel, through the integration of the companies’ respective technology platforms,” Ryan added.

Beta Renewables is focused on technologies to convert non-food cellulosic biomass into fuels and chemicals. 

The company, which is a joint venture between Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi’s Chemtex division and US investment firm TPG, is building a 60,000 tonne/year bio-refinery in Crescentino, Italy, that will produce cellulosic ethanol and electricity.

In related news on Tuesday, Gevo said it managed to successfully ferment isobutanol at the recently started-up Luverne plant, and that it is preparing shipments to Sasol and other customers.

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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