The confirmation of a worldwide patent cross-licence between Gevo Inc. and Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC has opened up a clear path for the production of bio-based isobutanol and ended four years of legal wrangling between the two companies. Today Bio-Based World News finds out a little more about Gevos isobutanol products and speaks exclusively to Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevos Chief Executive Officer about this exciting new chapter for the Englewood, Colorado based company.
Gevos commercialization efforts are focused on isobutanol, a naturally occurring four carbon alcohol. Isobutanol isa platform chemical that offers broad applications in large chemicals and fuels markets, and as a drop-in product that can allow customers to replace petroleum-derived raw materials. The isobutanol products made by Gevo are chemically equivalent to those produced from petroleum-based raw materials, except they are produced via fermentation from renewable sources. As such it is not only a renewable solution but with easy integration can be an incredibly useful one.
Our Editor Luke Upton, spoketo Dr. Patrick Gruber fresh from the announcement of the partnership with Butamax and asked how he felt: Its really great. We wish that it had been concluded earlier and without such cost, but thats in the past now and we are happy to be moving on. The final result has been a win-win for both us and Butamax and now enables us both to get on with making isobutanol a commercial reality and a big business.
This uncertainty is now gone. On the back of the settlement news, many of our existing and potential customers, licensees and partners reached out to us to congratulate us on the settlement and to express their excitement in working with Gevo going forward, added Dr. Gruber.
In fact, this month has already seen a new contract for Gevo, with it being confirmed that Harbor Marina at Lake Pomme de Terre in Missouri has become the first U.S. marina to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol at the pump. This has quickly followed Junes announcement from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) officially endorsing isobutanol as a drop-in fuel for marine and recreational boat engines. Gevo’s bio-based isobutanol helps meet renewable fuel and clean air standards, while solving concerns that many boaters have with ethanol-blended fuels, which can damage internal engine parts.
I asked Dr. Gruber (pictured right) what the potential is within this area for Gevo; Huge. For our core, near-term markets, namely marine fuel, jet fuel and off-road gasoline blendstocks, isooctane and solvents we can access these royalty-free, and in some cases, we may eventually generate royalties if Butamax looks to sell into certain of these markets. We believe that these core markets represent several billion dollars of value for isobutanol.
And Gevos markets for its isobutanol-based products go beyond just speciality fuels. For solvents and coatings, a solvent-grade renewable isobutanol can be used in the existing butanol market as a cost-effective alternative to petroleum-derived solvents.With its lower carbon footprint, isobutanol can be dehydrated to produce butanes, which are building blocks for the production of materials, plastics, and fibers, with advantages in cost, predictability and life cycle profile.
To finish up I ask Dr. Gruber where Gevo are heading next; Its an exciting time for the company. Coming out of this dispute we are now able to dedicate 100% of our efforts and focus to growing the business. We have over 70 staff members, half of which are working on the technology behind our products. All the team at Gevo are proud at how our technology has improved and developed to reach the point we are currently at now. We are always committed to innovation, both in the bio-fuels and bio-based chemicals area. With our products offering exact but renewable versions of petroleum-based ingredients, the possibilities for growth are extensive. We are in great shape to grow and develop over the coming years.
For more on Gevo click here www.gevo.com