Gevo contracts with Mustang Engineering for the conversion of Gevo’s renewable isobutanol to biojet fuel
|High-level process schematic for hydrocarbons from isobutanol. Source: Gevo. Click to enlarge.|
Gevo, Inc., a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, signed an engineering and consulting agreement with Mustang Engineering, LP for the conversion of Gevo’s renewable isobutanol to biojet fuel. This effort will focus on the downstream processing of isobutanol to paraffinic kerosene (jet fuel) for jet engine testing, airline suitability flights and advancing commercial deployment. (Earlier post.)
Gevo also announced that its “fit for purpose” testing at the Air Force Research Laboratory continues with a final report expected in June. Once completed successfully, the company will initiate jet engine testing with engine manufacturers.
The advent of the jet fuel carbon tax on international flights landing in the European Union is motivating the airline industry and fuel suppliers to seek cost-effective, renewable alternatives to petroleum jet fuel. Mustang is excited about this opportunity to further support Gevo in the development of the next generation of alternative fuels. The processing steps required to make this bio-jet fuel lend themselves well to integration into refineries and petrochemical facilities.—Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo
In July 2010, Gevo successfully produced isobutanol from fermentable sugars derived from cellulosic biomass and also successfully converted the cellulosic isobutanol into isobutylene and paraffinic kerosene.
The chemistry to convert isobutanol to a variety of hydrocarbon fuels molecules is simple and well known—the dehydration of isobutanol to isobutylene and the subsequent oligomerization of isobutylene to hydrocarbon fuels. Isobutylene oligomerization is practiced in refineries today on a mixed olefin stream. The process technology for converting isobutanol to hydrocarbons is low-energy input and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85%.
The dehydration of isobutanol into butenes is not commercially practiced today because isobutanol from petroleum is not cost-competitive with other petrochemical processes for generation of butenes, Gevo noted in its S1/A filed with the SEC last year. However, Gevo projects that its isobutanol production process will provide a cost-effective source of biomass-derived isobutanol. Gevo projects that the cash operating cost for its hydrocarbon fuel is competitive with $65 per barrel crude oil (without incentives).
Gevo was founded in 2005 by Drs. Frances Arnold, Matthew Peters and Peter Meinhold of the California Institute of Technology. The company is focused on the development of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals based on isobutanol and its derivatives using engineered microbes.
Mustang is a global project management, engineering, procurement, and construction operations company serving the upstream oil and gas, refining and chemicals, pipeline, automation and control, and industrial markets. Mustang, a Wood Group company, has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Malaysia, North Africa and the Middle East.