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Gevo to supply Lufthansa with alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ)

Gevo, Inc. has entered into a heads of agreement with Deutsche Lufthansa AG to supply Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) from its first commercial hydrocarbons facility, intended to be built in Luverne, MN. (Earlier post.)

The terms of the agreement contemplate Lufthansa purchasing up to 8 million gallons per year of ATJ from Gevo, or up to 40 million gallons over the 5 year life of the off-take agreement.

The heads of agreement establishes a selling price that is expected to allow for an appropriate level of return on the capital required to build-out Gevo’s first commercial scale hydrocarbons facility. The heads of agreement is non-binding and is subject to completion of a binding off-take agreement and other definitive documentation between Gevo and Lufthansa, expected to be completed in the next few months.

Gevo has adapted its patented Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology (GIFT) to convert the cellulosic sugars from wood into renewable isobutanol, which is then converted into alcohol-to-jet-synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) blendstock.

Broadly, the isobutanol is dehydrated over an acidic catalyst to produce isobutylene, which is then further reacted to product mixtures of longer chain aliphatic hydrocarbons. A portion of this material is reacted separately to form high density aromatic compounds. Hydrogen gas, a byproduct of the aromatization reaction, is used to remove unsaturated bonds in the aliphatic material.

The hydrocarbons then are blended in proportions that can meet all ASTM standards for fuels: isooctane is a dimer of dehydrated isobutanol and is a major component of the premium value alkylates, a key gasoline component; a trimer of the isobutylene (dehydrated isobutanol) is a jet fuel blend stock; a polymer of four and five isobutylenes can make a diesel blend stock.

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