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Argonne, NREL, Gevo to develop predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline

Gevo has been selected to collaborate with Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) received funding to develop a predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline blendstocks for oxygenated blending (BOBs).

While it is known that isobutanol increases octane when blended into BOBs, the effect is non-linear, and dependent on a BOB’s properties. This project is intended to measure the actual octane effect on finished fuels when blending Gevo’s isobutanol with existing BOBs, obviating the need for blenders to perform these expensive and time-consuming tests themselves.

This work is expected to support the investments that Gevo and its value chain partners are currently making to develop BOBs specifically for isobutanol (iBOBs).

Isobutanol possesses a range of properties which makes it an ideal blendstock for gasoline such as high energy content, high octane, low water solubility and low volatility. By developing optimized iBOBs to blend with Gevo’s isobutanol, Gevo and its partners can produce high-performance finished fuels which can benefit end consumers, as well as provide margin to all participants across the fuel blending value chain.

Gevo is excited to be collaborating with Argonne and NREL on this project. We believe that expanding the blending of Gevo’s isobutanol will benefit the U.S. by reducing the need for petroleum imports while reducing harmful carbon emissions. We, and our partners, want to ensure that we develop finished gasoline that delivers the highest value to the end-customer. At the same time, we want to make sure that we are taking advantage of the superior properties of isobutanol to develop economical iBOBs that drive the highest margin through our value chain, while still delivering a high quality finished product to the consumer.

—Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo CEO

The funding is being provided through the third round of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers (SBV) program. (Earlier post.) The SBV program provides funding for DOE’s national laboratories to partner with selected US businesses, enabling these clean technology companies to leverage the laboratories’ technical and intellectual resources.

Gevo has developed proprietary technology that uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production of isobutanol and related products from renewable feedstocks.

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