TetraVitae Announces n-Butanol Production Milestone

Joanna Schroeder

Butanol is not just for fuel. Today, TetraVitae Bioscience announced that it has successfully demonstrated its process to produce renewable n-butanol in a corn dry-mill pilot plant. The company says this is a major milestone for them in creating economically competitive renewable n-butanol for the coatings, plastics, personal care, and packaging industries.

“With this achievement, TetraVitae has shown that producing renewable n-butanol in a commercial scale corn dry-mill will be a reality very soon,” said Jay Kouba, CEO of TetraVitae. “Corn dry-mills offer the most direct, capital efficient, and low-cost route to large-scale production of renewable chemicals in North America. The industry has built a successful business based on fuel ethanol. TetraVitae is offering dry-mill operators a way to make higher value products using their existing capital base.”

For the demonstration phase, TetraVitae worked with The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) to retrofit NCERC’s fully integrated corn dry-mill pilot plant to operate using their technology. The technology performed and successfully produced n-butanol as well as acetone and distillers grains at a competitive cost.

Working with the University of Texas in Austin’s Separations Research Program, the pilot phase of the program also demonstrated product purification. TetraVitae took raw chemical products produced at NCERC and produced purified n-butanol and acetone in a continuous distillation that met all standard chemical industry specifications for solvents.

“n-Butanol and acetone are high value chemicals with many applications in the coatings, plastics, personal care, and packaging industries,” said Kouba. “TetraVitae is creating partnerships with companies across these value chains that will result in economically competitive renewable products that consumers use every day.”

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