Gevo’s Luverne facility to remain idle

By Erin Voegele | May 13, 2020

Patrick Gruber, president and CEO of Gevo Inc., said on May 12 he expects the company’s biorefinery in Luverne, Minnesota, to remain idle for the remainder of the year. The company’s plant in Silsbee, Texas, however, continues to produce renewable gasoline and jet fuel.

Gruber discussed operations at both facilities during the company’s first quarter earnings call, held May 12.

Gevo announced in late March that it had suspended operations the Luverne facility due to market impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said 30 employees were terminated, including some working at the Luverne facility and at Gevo’s headquarters in Colorado.

During the May 12 earnings call, Gruber noted that ethanol production at the Luverne plant will be shut down for the foreseeable future. The shutdown will likely continue through the end of the year, he added. Depending on economics, he said it’s possible the plant could restart operations next year, particularly after the company’s biogas project is brought online, which would help lower the carbon score of ethanol produced at Luverne.

Gruver also discussed an April 2 announcement that Gevo has hired CitiGroup to assist with financing for the development of renewable jet fuel and isooctane production. During the earnings call, Gruber said Citi will work with the company on project equity and debt. The company expects it will need 60 MMgy to 70 MMgy of capacity in place by 2024. He said the company currently sees opportunity to build out three projects. The first would be an expansion of the Luveren facility to make renewable gasoline and jet fuel. The company also believes it will need to develop two additional plant production sites. Discussions to secure those sites are underway, Gruber said.

Gevo reported $3.8 million in revenue for the first quarter, down from $6.4 million during the same period of 2019. Hydrocarbon revenue fell to $100,000, down from $700,000. Loss from operations was $8 million, compared to a $5.6 million loss during the first quarter of last year. Net loss per share was 64 cents, compared to 60 cents during the first quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP adjusted net loss per share was 59 cents, compared to a loss of 63 cents during the same period of last year.