Gevo’s Biojet Fuel Catches Air

Joanna Schroeder

Gevo’s technology to convert wood waste to biojet fuel has achieved a breakthrough in its fermentation technology and will soon “catch air” as its soars in the sky in test flights. The wood waste is first converted to isobuanol and then converted into alcohol-to-jet fuel.

Gevo has an operational plant in Luverne, Minnesota that has flexible feedstock technology allowing the plant to produce isobutanol from multiple feedstocks. In the past the primary feedstock has been corn and the resulting fuel has been tested by airlines and the U.S. military in their planes. This new process uses forest residues. Removing waste helps to prevent forest fires.

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Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

According to the company, they have adapted their patented Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology(R) (GIFT(R)) to convert the cellulosic sugars from wood into renewable isobutanol. They then use their patented hydrocarbon technology to convert the cellulosic isobutanol into alcohol-to-jet-synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) fuel.

“There are significant economic and environmental benefits of renewable jet fuel, which makes it a great market for Gevo. This announcement demonstrates the flexibility of our technology and reinforces our technology leadership,” said Dr. Pat Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo, Inc. “The next two milestones for renewable jet fuel are the approval by ASTM and the scheduled commercial test flights. Our team is actively engaged in both of these activities.”

Gevo’s cellulosic isobutanol production will be conducted at a demonstration facility in St. Joseph, MO, that the company jointly operates with ICM Inc. The ATJ-SPK will be produced in Silsbee, Texas, at the demonstration facility the company operates with South Hampton Resources.

The company is a member of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and is providing the organization with technology to enable the commercial scale processing of cellulosic sugars from wood waste into valuable products. The cellulosic jet fuel made using Gevo’s technologies will be used in a 1,000-gallon renewable fuel demonstration test flight that NARA announced yesterday in conjunction with Alaska Airlines. Gevo’s isobutanol and ATJ-SPK technologies are both planned to be licensed by NARA as part of this project.

Ralph Cavalieri, director of NARA, added, “We’re encouraged by Gevo’s work with the NARA team in converting Pacific Northwest forest residual biomass into jet fuel, and look forward to working with them on this test flight and in the next phases of the commercialization of this technology.”

advance biofuels, aviation biofuels, biojet fuel