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lunes, 31 de julio de 2017

Gevo and Praj commercialize technology to produce biobutanol from sugar cane juice and molasses



In November 2015, Gevo, Inc. (Gevo) and Praj Industries Ltd (Praj) entered into a license agreement and a joint development agreement to enable the licensing of Gevo’s isobutanol technology to processors of non-corn based sugars, including the majority of Praj’s global customer base consisted of ethanol plant owners (see press release). And, it should be recalled that Praj counts on over 750 references across five continents. The Indian company would provide the EPC services for the eventual projects and Gevo would be the direct licensor of its technology to the end customers. Both firms intended to license up to 250 million gallons of biobutanol capacity over the next ten years under this partnership.

The agreement covered the development and optimization of Gevo’s isobutanol technology for use with feedstocks as sugar cane, sugar beets, cassava, rice, sorghum, wheat and certain cellulosic sugars. News is that the adaptation of Gevo’s technology to sugar cane juice and molasses feedstocks is ready. The process technology development was performed at Praj’s R&D center (Matrix) located in Pune (India). Gevo and Praj have just announced it during the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology that took place in Montreal (Canada) at the end of this month (see press release).

Licensing is expected to be focused on Praj plants located in India, South America and South East Asia, with initial capacity targeted to come on-line in the 2019/2020 timeframe. According to Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj, this isobutanol platform can be offered as ‘bolt-on’ to an existing ethanol plant or as a greenfield plant. Gevo would be the primary off-taker, marketer and initial distributor for the biobutanol produced.

Isobutanol has several applications as advanced biofuel and biobased chemical building block (see biobutanol biorefineries to learn more). For instance, Gevo further converts it into alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel. Alaska Airlines, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy have all flown flights using Gevo’s ATJ derived from isobutanol.

Figure 1. Airplane of Alaska Airlines powered by Gevo’s ATJ derived from isobutanol (extracted from Gevo web page)

For the next phase of commercialization, Praj is working to adapt Gevo’s technology to its 2G biorefineries (see this post to know more about Praj’s Enfinity technology), enabling the production of isobutanol from lignocellulosic biomass.

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