Gevo's isobutanol receives EPA registration

By Bryan Sims | November 15, 2010
Posted Nov. 23, 2010

Englewood, Colo.-based Gevo Inc. received notification from the U.S. EPA that its isobutanol has successfully cleared registration for approval as a certified gasoline blendstock. The EPA's approval makes Gevo the first company to have isobutanol listed in the EPA's Fuel Registration Directory.

According to Gevo, the company believes that its isobutanol is an attractive additive for gasoline due to its higher energy density and lower Reid Vapor Pressure, a common measure of volatility for gasoline. Regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act, low RVP gasoline blends are required in many urban areas in order to comply with state level ozone attainment plans.

"We've taken another important step in commercializing our product in the near-term," said CEO Patrick Gruber. "Along with the chemicals market, selling isobutanol as a low RVP biofuel blendstock is one of our most important opportunities."

Gevo touts its isobutanol as platform molecule that can be used to produce a variety of biobased fuels and products, including chemicals, as a gasoline and jet fuel blendstock, or through conversion into plastics, fibers, rubber and other polymers.

Isobutanol holds inherent characteristics that make it an attractive alternative to other gasoline additives such as alkylate and aromatics, which should enable refiners to modify their gasoline formulation in ways that increase their operating margins, the company said in a statement.

Gevo added that will soon begin the retrofit of its first 22 MMgy ethanol plant in Luverne, Minn., to produce 18 MMgy of isobutanol. The company will integrate a proprietary fermentation process that's designed to fit into existing ethanol production plants. Coined GIFT (Gevo Integration Fermentation Technology), the technology platform consists of two components: a yeast biocatalyst and a separations technology unit that bolts onto existing ethanol plants to produce isobutanol from grain crops such as corn, wheat, sorghum, barley and sugarcane, as well as nonfood-based cellulosic inputs.