Gevo buys ethanol asset for isobutanol

After its collaboration announcement with Lanxess on isobutene development and future production, Gevo said it is planning to acquire an ethanol production facility in Luverne, Minnesota, to begin its isobutanol commercialization efforts.

According to experts, bio-butanol production can easily adapt to existing or new grain and sugarcane ethanol plants unlike other biofuel manufacture. In an article I did last year on butanol, Gevo said it’s technology can cost less than 30 cents/gal to retrofit an ethanol plant to make isobutanol.

Gevo’s production cost is expected to be 50% of the cost of petrochemical-based processes even at modest oil prices.

According to the company, mechanical retrofitting of the plant will begin as soon as possible. Isobutanol production is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2012. During most of the retrofit process, it is expected that the facility will continue to produce ethanol. The facility produces 20m gal/year of ethanol.

Gevo’s isobutanol feedstocks include corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, sugar cane and cellulosic feedstocks when biomass conversion becomes commercially available.

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