Gevo to Switch Back to Ethanol Production, from Biobutanol, at Minnesota Integrated Biorefinery
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) Reoptimizing its technology, now expects return to reach target isobutanol production rates in 2013.
In Colorado, Gevo announced that, while making significant progress towards economic production levels, the company does not now expect to achieve its desired year-end run rate – instead it has delayed hitting that target into 2013.
“While we have made significant progress towards economic production levels,” said Gevo CEO Pat Gruber, “we have decided to optimize certain specific parts of our technology to further enhance bio-isobutanol production rates. Implementing these adjustments while trying to produce product in a plant the size of Luverne makes no sense from a business or technical point of view, particularly when we have better options available. In order to maximize cash flow, we believe it makes more sense to temporarily shift to ethanol production. This optionality is a result of Gevo’s patented retrofit design that allows for switching between isobutanol and ethanol. It’s very important to us to introduce this technology to the marketplace in the most considered and responsible way, and do what’s right for our customers, our shareholders, and the long-term needs of the business.” READ MORE and MORE (Gevo) and MORE (Biofuels Digest update) and MORE (Biofuels Digest shareholder update) and MORE (Biofuels Digest update 11/2/12)
Excerpt from Biofuels Digest update: … Bottom line, isobutanol has been produced, but not at economically viable yields. The process needs improvement, at scale, which leaves the company with the choice of producing isobutanol at suboptimal yields and losing money – or switching back to ethanol and conserving cash. Since the company had not made any formal performance targets aside from a commitment to reach a 1 million gallon per month throughput by December – which is clearly out the window anyway – the option that offered the lower cash burn clearly looked more attractive to management. READ MORE