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Gevo and Beta plot joint future bioisobutanol projects

Chemical and biofuels company Gevo has signed a joint development agreement with Beta Renewables to develop an integrated process for the production of bio-based isobutanol from cellulosic biomass.

The agreement anticipates production plants will be located where cellulosic feedstocks like switchgrass, miscanthus, agriculture residues and others will be readily available. Depending on the success of the project, the commercialisation of combined technologies could also be considered for isobutanol-based jet fuel and chemicals.

‘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. This allows us to access a larger carbohydrate pool as feedstock for isobutanol production, which helps keep costs down and enables production facilities in regions of the world rich in biomass resources,’ says Gevo COO and president Chris Ryan.

‘With the success of our startup Luverne plant and Beta Renewables’ cellulosic sugar technology, we’re ready to be positioned at the forefront of cellulosic isobutanol and isobutanol derivatives, such as jet fuel, through the integration of the companies’ respective technology platforms. We look forward to a range of collaborations with Beta Renewables, including partnering to meet the requirements of the US government’s Defence Production Act Title III project.’

The companies will also evaluate future opportunities to partner on other US and international projects with a long-term goal of developing a licensable package for future interested third parties.

Beta Renewables is currently building a 20 million gallon per year bio-refinery in Crescentino, Italy that will produce cellulosic ethanol as well as ‘green electricity’. Construction has begun and plant startup is targeted for the end of 2012.