Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, announced today that it has begun the retrofit of its ethanol facility in Luverne, Minnesota, to produce biobased isobutanol. This milestone brings the company one step closer to commercial-scale production. The retrofit, which is expected to be complete by next summer, will make this facility the world’s first commercial-scale biobased isobutanol plant.
“Isobutanol made from renewable raw materials can be used to make a variety of everyday products such as rubber, plastics and fuel, and is a versatile solution to help displace our country’s dependency on petroleum and create a biobased economy,” said Patrick Gruber, Ph.D., CEO of Gevo. “Through this retrofit, Gevo is providing a high-value product that supports our nation’s agriculture industry.”
Biobased isobutanol has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to end the United States’ dependency on petroleum because it is a drop in replacement for a variety of products. It can be sold in the marketplace as both a solvent chemical and a fuel blendstock, or it can be converted into four carbon building blocks called butenes, which can be used to make 40 percent of all petrochemicals and a 100 percent of all hydrocarbon fuels.
Gevo acquired the Luverne, Minnesota plant, which has an isobutanol production capacity of 18 million gallons per year, from Agri-Energy LLC in September 2010. Currently, the plant has 27 employees.
The official groundbreaking ceremony will take place today at 12:00 pm CDT at Gevo’s ethanol facility, located at 502 South Walnut Avenue in Luverne, Minnesota. The ceremony will be attended by Gevo executives, employees and elected officials including U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota State Senator Doug Magnus and Minnesota State Representative Joe Schomacker.
Gevo is developing capital efficient biorefinery systems to provide renewable, cost-effective building block products to the chemical and fuel industries. The Company seeks to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits. Gevo is committed to a sustainable biobased economy that meets society’s needs for plentiful food and clean air and water.
Source: Gevo, Inc., press release, 2011-05-31.