BIOF- Gevo and BioFuel Energy Announce Collaboration to Pursue Large-scale Isobutanol Production
Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a leading renewable chemicals and next-generation biofuels company, today announced progress under a collaboration with BioFuel Energy Corp (NASDAQ: BIOF) to explore high-volume production of isobutanol.
“The capacity of BioFuel’s plants would allow us to begin delivering isobutanol at the scale that refinery customers are likely to demand,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. “We have the potential to be at the forefront of the Advanced Biofuel market. BioFuel Energy recognizes this potential and has agreed to explore a possible retrofit of their assets to produce isobutanol.”
“Our philosophy has always been to actively explore emerging biofuel technologies, particularly those with the potential to transform our industry,” said Scott Pearce, CEO of BioFuel Energy. “Building on our initial work together over the past several months, we believe that collaborating with Gevo makes a lot of sense as a potential avenue to becoming a leader in second-generation biofuels.”
Although Gevo and Biofuel Energy signed a Development Agreement earlier this year, the companies only recently completed their preliminary evaluation of technical feasibility. The companies plan to continue working to develop large-scale production of isobutanol at an existing or future BioFuel plant. Specific objectives include a more rigorous assessment of technical feasibility and the development of timelines for engineering, regulatory approvals, financing and construction. The two companies will also explore the potential for seeking Advanced Biofuel status for isobutanol, which would allow domestic corn-based biofuels to compete more directly with biodiesel and imported ethanol produced from sugarcane.
Gevo recently began the start up of its first commercial-scale isobutanol plant in Luverne, Minn. with plans for another startup in 2013 at its Redfield, SD joint venture. By working with BioFuel Energy, Gevo is continuing to execute on its growth strategy and setting a clear path to achieving its projected volume targets.
I actually bought both of these companies based on the following story:
I didn't factor in the Einhorn effect or the use of Ethanol, but I'm enjoying the free ride :) Any thoughts?
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have succeeded in genetically altering Ralstonia eutropha soil bacteria in such a way that they are able to convert carbon into isobutanol, an alcohol that can be blended with or even substituted for gasoline. It is hoped that once developed further, this technology could help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and lessen the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by smoke stacks.
When their regular carbon food sources become scarce, R. eutropha ordinarily respond by synthesizing a type of polymer, in which they store whatever carbon they’re able to find. By “knocking out a few genes, inserting a gene from another organism and tinkering with the expression of other genes,” the team of MIT biologists were able to get the bacteria to produce isobutanol instead of that polymer.
Unlike certain other biofuels, isobutanol can be used directly as is, requiring no refining. The bacteria produce the alcohol continuously, releasing it into their fluid environment, from which it can be filtered. This differs from experiments conducted at other institutions, in which various types of bacteria have had to be destroyed in order to harvest the desired biofuel byproducts from their bodies.
Currently, the genetically modified microbes are getting their carbon from fructose. It is expected that with further alterations, however, they should be able to draw it from industrial carbon dioxide gas emissions. In fact, the scientists believe that properly bioengineered R. eutropha should be able to feed on carbon from almost any source, such as agricultural or municipal waste.
The team is now looking into increasing the bacteria’s isobutanol production levels, and scaling the technology up for use in industrial-scale bioreactors. If successful, such facilities should lessen the need for biofuel-dedicated crops such as corn, that compete with food crops for land and water.
In fact, MIT isn’t the first place to experience success in this area of research. In 2009, scientists from UCLA announced that they had been able to harvest isobutanol from CO2-consuming Synechoccus elongatus bacteria.