Colorado-based biofuel company Gevo and Pune-based solutions provider for ethanol producers Praj Industries Ltd (Praj) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for isobutanol production.
The MoU binds Praj to licence Gevo’s technology for isobutanol production to first-generation sugar-based ethanol plants.
These plants are to produce 250 million gallons of isobutanol over the next 10 years. And Gevo will market the isobutanol produced by these plants.
Praj will also provide process engineering and equipment services to Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minnesota.
As of January, the facility was producing about 100,000 gallons of isobutanol a month, that is, a run rate of 1 million gallons a year.
Praj’s assistance at Gevo’s plant can help the company to improve yields and optimise energy consumption at the facility, besides expanding isobutanol capacity.
Isobutanol is a high performance biofuel with good market. It can also be used to fuel bio-refineries to produce several specialty chemicals and bio-products, according to Pramod Chaudhari, the executive chairman of Praj.
“We look forward to creating a new opportunity for first generation sugar-based ethanol plant owners, as well as accelerating the use of second generation cellulosic feedstocks to produce isobutanol to make an advanced bio-fuel,” Chaudhari said with reference to the MoU.
Dr Patrick Gruber, the chief executive officer of Gevo, said: “This alliance demonstrates the flexibility of Gevo’s GIFT technology to convert a range of sugar sources into isobutanol. It validates the interest in licensing our intellectual property portfolio as we look to transition our business to focus more on a licensing model.”
Gevo recently announced that NASA had purchased its Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) fuel for aviation, which is manufactured at the company’s demonstration biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas.
Ajith Kumar S