Gevo and Leaf Resources sign joint development agreement for potential use of cellulosic-derived sugars to convert to hydrocarbon molecules
Gevo, Inc. and Leaf Resources, an Australia-based company and one of the world’s leading companies in converting plant biomass into industrial sugars, have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA). The JDA is to explore Gevo’s potential use of cellulosic-derived sugars and glycerol from Leaf and the ability to convert these to hydrocarbon molecules useful as fuels or chemicals.
Leaf Resources’ pretreatment technology—the Glycell Process—breaks down plant biomass at lower temperature and pressure to generate a higher yield of cellulose than conventional approaches. Glycell pretreatment is followed by enzymatic hydrolysis which converts cellulose into cellulosic sugars. The process also yields lignin, hemicellulose and refined glycerol.
Gevo has developed technology for producing isobutanol from renewable feedstocks using a yeast that has been developed to produce isobutanol and a product recovery technology that continuously removes isobutanol as it is formed. Gevo adds its proprietary yeast to fermentable sugars to convert the sugars to isobutanol.
The JDA is structured around three phases of joint work designed to establish a bankable project.
The initial phase will develop the feasibility of a potential facility, followed by phases investigating the commercial development and commercialization of the project.
Gevo and Leaf will carry their own costs during phase 1 of the project, with further funding to be determined by a future written agreement after completion of the phase 1 milestones.
Leaf’s progress in Malaysia and Queensland, in addition to the comprehensive work it has undertaken with regard to its Glycell process, creates the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship with Gevo. We have already been supplying renewable jet fuel to Virgin Australia and see the potential demand in Australia and more broadly in Asia. Having a partner like Leaf in the region will help drive our strategy forward with access to sugars as feedstock and chemical and fuel markets in a rapidly growing economic region.—Dr. Patrick Gruber, Chief Executive Officer at Gevo