Intrexon Corporation has announced that its pilot plant for the production of natural gas-to-liquids is online. Located in San Fransisco, the facility will be producing isobutanol, a drop-in fuel. Intrexon says that isobutanol has several advantages over other biofuels including cleaner burning combustion, less corrosion, more energy content and compatibility with existing pipelines.
“Reaching operational status with our pilot plant is one of several important milestones we expect to reach this year as we continue to move closer to commercialization of our ground-breaking bioconversion platform for the production of isobutanol,” said Robert F. Walsh, Senior Vice President, Head of Intrexon’s Energy Sector and Industrial Products Division. “Data from the pilot plant will be utilized to further refine our commercial scale facility design.”
The company reports that it has been refining its process and improving the output of isobutanol from its engineered microbes including greater than 50 percent increase since its investor day last November. Intrexon also reports that with the pilot plant operational, they are closer to achieving the yields needed to move to commercial scale later this year and anticipate its first commercial plant will be online in 2018.