I am so happy to get this news as I will be able to add this information to my upcoming article about chemical companies investing in biotechnology.
German specialty chemical company Lanxess has just plunked $10m in bio-butanol developer Gevo, which is based in Denver, Colorado. Gevo and Lanxess plan to jointly develop and produce renewable-based isobutene, a key raw material in the manufacturing of butyl rubber. The companies said they intend to produce the chemical by dehydrating isobutanol.
Gevo is already developing isobutanol via fermentation of corn and biomass. Isobutanol is a building block for making biodiesel, jet fuel, as well as plastics, rubber and fibers. In exchange for the $10m, Lanxess will also received a minority stake in Gevo as well as a seat on Gevo’s Director’s Board, which will be assigned to Ron Commander, head of Lanxess’ butyl rubber business unit.
In another bio-butanol news by the way, DuPont, with its joint venture company Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC in partnership with BP, confirmed early this month that their biobutanol demonstration facility in Hull, UK, will start up in the third quarter this year. Commercial production is expected in mid-2012.
The JV plans to commercially produce the fuel in the US market in late 2012 to early 2013 by retrofitting ethanol plants to biobutanol. License to retrofit ethanol plants will also be available. DuPont says they are also looking to produce sugar-based biobutanol from Brazil, which will then be exported to strategic markets, including US and Europe.