Gevo's Isobutanol Secures EPA Registration for Use as Fuel Additive
Gevo, Inc., a privately held renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, has been notified that its isobutanol cleared registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a fuel additive. Gevo’s isobutanol is the first isobutanol to be listed in the EPA’s Fuel Registration Directory and is now approved for blending with gasoline.
“We’ve taken another important step in commercializing our product in the near term,” said Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber, Ph.D. “Along with the chemicals market, selling isobutanol as a low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) biofuel blendstock is one of our most important opportunities.”
Gevo believes isobutanol is a very attractive alcohol fuel gasoline blendstock. It has higher energy density than ethanol and lower RVP. RVP is regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. Low RVP gasoline blends are required in many urban areas in order to comply with state-level ozone attainment plans. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard II, isobutanol qualifies for 30 percent more renewable fuel value or Renewable Identification Number (RIN) than ethanol for obligated parties. Isobutanol has characteristics that make it an attractive alternative to other gasoline components like alkylate and aromatics, which should enable refiners to modify their gasoline formulation in ways that increase their operating margins. These various attributes also provide refiners with valuable options in meeting their clean air and renewable fuel obligations.
The isobutanol can be used directly as a specialty chemical, as a gasoline and jet fuel blendstock, and through conversion into plastics, fibers, rubber and other polymers. The company will soon begin the retrofit of its first 22 million gallons per year (MPGY) ethanol facility in Luverne, Minn., to produce 18 million gallons per year of isobutanol. The company plans to expand its isobutanol production via the retrofit of additional ethanol facilities over the next few years. In the future, Gevo intends to produce cellulosic isobutanol once biomass conversion technology is commercially available.