Praj Licenses Gevo’s Isobutanol Technology

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Jim Lane
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In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) announced that Praj Industries Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding to become a Gevo licensee for producing renewable isobutanol at sugar-based ethanol plants.

Under the MOU, Praj will undertake to license up to 250 million gallons of isobutanol capacity for sugar-based ethanol plants over the next ten years. Gevo will market the isobutanol produced by Praj’s sub-licensees. Praj will also contribute process engineering and equipment services to expand isobutanol capacity at Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minn, as well as to improve yields and optimize energy consumption at the facility.

“Praj has conducted significant diligence on Gevo’s corn starch-based isobutanol technology and we believe in the technology,” said Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj. “Isobutanol has a substantial market opportunity given that isobutanol is a high performance biofuel that can solve many of the issues of 1st generation biofuels. It also enables a true biorefinery model wherein a number of specialty chemicals and bio-products can be produced using isobutanol as a feedstock. We look forward to creating a new opportunity for 1st generation sugar-based ethanol plant owners, as well as accelerating the use of 2nd generation cellulosic feedstocks to produce isobutanol.”

“We are very pleased to be working with Praj and having them become an important licensee and partner. This new strategic alliance demonstrates the flexibility of Gevo’s GIFT technology to convert a wide range of sugar sources into isobutanol. It also continues to validate the interest in licensing our intellectual property portfolio as we look to transition our business to focus more on a licensing model,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer.

In a “quick take,” Cowen & Company’s Jeffrey Osborne noted:

“In addition to licensing Gevo’s technology for its first-gen ethanol plants, Praj will also tap Gevo to market the isobutanol produced. Praj will also contribute process engineering and equipment services for Gevo’s plant in Luverne, MN, which should help expand and stabilize Gevo’s in-house capability of producing isobutanol and improve yields and energy consumption at the plant.”

This news comes as a follow up to Gevo’s recent announcement of NASA’s purchase of Gevo’s Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) for aviation, which is manufactured at the company’s demonstration biorefinery in Silsbee, TX.

As of the last update in January, Gevo’s Luverne facility is producing 75-100k gallons of isobutanol per month, or approximately a run rate of 1 million gallons per year. Praj’s potential assistance at Gevo’s plant can help lead to stable increasing production levels, on top of the financial and technology validation benefits Gevo gains from the licensing arrangement.”

Gevo will announces its quarterly earnings on Thursday.

Jim Lane is editor and publisher  of Biofuels Digest where this article was originally published. Biofuels Digest is the most widely read  Biofuels daily read by 14,000+ organizations. Subscribe here.

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