Praj Industries and Gevo jointly announced that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugar cane juice and molasses.
Montreal/Canada — The companies entered into a Joint Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was to adapt the developers isobutanol technology that is using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology was developed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.
In the first phase of development, the Indian company worked with their partner's technology using sugar cane and molasses feedstocks. Test-runs were undertaken in order to develop a process design package that will now be offered for commercialization to cane juice and molasses-based ethanol plants, as licensees of Gevo’s isobutanol technology. Licensing is expected to be focused on Praj plants located in India, South America and South East Asia, with initial capacity targeted to come on-line in the 2019/2020 timeframe.
Isobutanol has several direct applications as a gasoline blendstock or as a specialty chemical solvent, or it can be used as an intermediate which can be further converted into other chemical products or hydrocarbons such as Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) and isooctane.
In comparison to other renewable jet fuels, Gevo’s ATJ has the potential to offer the optimal solution in terms of operating cost, capital cost, feedstock availability and scalability, the manufacturer claims. In addition to being a lower carbon alternative, ATJ also offers performance advantages such as lower particulates, low sulfur content and a lower freezing point. Alaska Airlines, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy have all flown flights using Gevo’s ATJ, derived from isobutanol using corn and cellulosic materials as feedstocks.
Isooctane and renewable gasoline made from cane juice- and molasses-based isobutanol are expected to be very low in carbon content, offering new approaches to markets where low carbon fuels are valued, such as California and other geographies.
Gevo is expected to be the primary off-taker, marketer and initial distributor for isobutanol produced from the plants built by Praj that use this isobutanol technology.
In the next phase of commercialization, Praj is working to adapt the technology to their 2nd generation bio-refineries, enabling the production of isobutanol from lignocellulosic biomass.