Gevo, Praj partner up to commercialise renewable isobutanol, jet fuel in India

US headquartered  renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, Gevo has signed a binding, definitive construction license agreement with Praj Industries, an India-headquartered bioenergy process solutions provider,  to commercialise the production of renewable isobutanol using sugary-based feedstocks, such as juice, syrup and molasses made of sugarcane and sugar beets. Under the agreement, Praj will provide engineering procurement and construction services to certain third party customers using a process design package that incorporates Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol biocatalyst and is designed for use with sugary-based feedstocks (PDP).  The PDP is jointly owned by Gevo and Praj.

In addition, an MoU has been signed between the two companies to commercialise Gevo’s renewable hydrocarbons products in India, including Gevo’s renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (“ATJ”) and renewable isooctane, derived from Gevo’s renewable isobutanol.  The agreement contemplates two phases.  In phase one, Praj will implement a pilot plant in India for the purpose of introducing Gevo’s technology to potential customers.  Following phase one, Praj and Gevo expect to enter into a commercial license agreement for the production of renewable hydrocarbons. Together, Gevo and Praj expect to use a combination of their respective technologies for the conversion of sugars to renewable hydrocarbon products.

Patrick R Gruber, Gevo’s CEO said that the partnership will enable India to benefit from isobutanol and drop-in gasoline.  Gevo expects to leverage Praj’s Enfinity technology to produce second generation drop-in hydrocarbons utilising the former’s existing technology that has already been proven.  “We expect to scale up quickly and be ready for the Indian market as early as 2020,” he said.

Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj, added, “the addition of  isobutanol technology to Praj’s diverse product portfolio is a step in our endeavor towards smart biorefineries that facilitate sustainable decarbonisation.  This solution can be offered both as a ‘bolt-on’ to an existing ethanol plant or as a Greenfield plant. We value our partnership with Gevo and believe that this technology will help the aviation industry fulfill its obligation of greenhouse gas reduction.”

In connection with the construction license agreement, Gevo and Praj have also entered into a new joint development agreement and a new development license agreement, in April 4, to continue their joint development efforts to produce isobutanol using sugarcane juice, sugarcane syrup, sugarcane molasses, sugar beet juice, sugar beet syrup, sugar beet molasses, sugar beet pulp, cassava, rice, wheat, sorghum, bagasse, rice straw, wheat straw, corn stover, cotton stalk and empty fruit bunches.  In particular, Gevo and Praj are nearing the completion of work to develop a process design package to use agricultural residues, such as empty fruit bunches, wheat straw, rice straw or corn stover, to produce isobutanol.

These second generation biomass feedstocks are the lowest cost feedstocks in some markets and have the additional benefit of having a very low carbon footprint.  The use of agricultural residues as a feedstock to produce isobutanol should provide Gevo feedstock optionality in markets that are targeting decarbonisation from second generation forms of biomass.