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Call to Action for a Truly Sustainable Renewable Future
August 8, 2013 – 5:07 pm | No Comment

-Include high octane/high ethanol Regular Grade fuel in EPA Tier 3 regulations.
-Use a dedicated, self-reducing non-renewable carbon user fee to fund renewable energy R&D.
-Start an Apollo-type program to bring New Ideas to sustainable biofuel and …

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The Top 10 Advances in Renewable Butanol: What’s Speeding up, Where Are the Slow-Downs?

Submitted by on August 3, 2018 – 12:57 pmNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  From Portugal comes the news that SilicoLife was awarded with a SME instrument phase 1 grant for the commercial evaluation of its BUTANOVA technology, a new biological process to produce n-butanol.

BUTANOVA technology consists on a novel and proprietary metabolic pathway designed computationally by SilicoLife and implemented and experimentally validated in collaboration with University of Minho, in Portugal. This new pathway, resulting from Artificial Intelligence methodologies developed at the company, for the production of n-butanol starts from a non-previously reported precursor. Conversely to competing solutions, the use of this new precursor opens the door to a great variety of hosts and feedstocks.

The problem, more or less, has been the cost of production. In part, think “low oil prices” and “production scales too small to provide economies of scale”. In part also, there have been rough passages from technology-in-the-lab to technology-at-scale — cost overruns, disappointing yields or rates. Now, oil prices are on the rise again, Brent crude has jumped to more than $80 a barrel and retail premium gasoline has spiked to $4.14 a gallon near to Digest headquarters in Florida. Much higher, and we’ll begin to hear more about fuel-switching and electric-switching and fuel-efficient cars, as we have not heard so much in these 6 years of cheap oil.

 Butanol is a 4-carbon alcohol generally used as an industrial solvent with a growing market, valued over 5 Billion € annually, and with a high potential as a renewable fuel.

Market developments and applications
#1 Gevo says EPA approval of 16% isobutanol is good news all round …

#2 Green Biologics and Kreussler develop new corn-based dry cleaning solvent …

#3 Green Biologics delivers Jungbunzlauer Ladenburg first BioPure n-butanol shipment …

#4 Gevo extends distribution deal with Musket to market isobutanol …

#5 Butamax buys Nesika Energy to add on isobutanol technology …

R&D
#6 University of Bristol researchers develop way to convert ethanol into butanol from fermentation broths  …

#7 Praj and Gevo team to adapt isobutanol technology for cellulosic feedstocks
Last July we reported that Praj Industries Ltd and Gevo, Inc. unveiled a new commercial opportunity in renewable bioproducts, jointly announcing that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugar cane juice and molasses. This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugar cane and molasses feedstocks. A Joint Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement were entered into between Praj and Gevo in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was for Praj to adapt Gevo’s isobutanol technology to using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology development was performed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.

#8 Sierra Hotel: Los Alamos, Gevo to develop ultra long-range missile, aviation fuels
In October we reported that Gevo and Los Alamos National Lab will collaborate to improve the energy density of Gevo hydrocarbon products to meet product specifications for tactical fuels for specialized military applications such as RJ-4, RJ-6 and JP-10, which are currently purchased by the US Department of Defense (DoD). High energy-density fuels are currently used in air and sea-launched cruise missiles used by the US military forces. If this project is successful in scaling the fuels cost-effectively, there may be an even broader application in the general aviation sector, enabling higher energy density jet fuel that would provide superior mileage to traditional aviation fuels.

Policy advances

#9 Boating industry applauds isobutanol approval
In June we reported that US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt approved the registration of bio-isobutanol as a fuel additive. May’s American Boating Congress featured a special question-and-answer session with NMMA President Thom Dammrich and Pruitt. “We applaud Administrator Pruitt’s approval of bio-isobutanol as a biofuel additive, which will provide consumers a safe, efficient, and environmentally-friendly E15 alternative that is highly compatible with marine products,” Dammrich said. “This decision will promote an innovative fuel supply, with direct benefits to American boaters and consumers.

#10 Arizona OKs isobutanol fuels for on-road vehicles, clearing path for Gevo

In May 2017 we reported that a bill signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will let gas stations sell isobutanol-blended gasoline for on-road vehicles, enabling higher performing finished fuels with renewable content for drivers in the state. Bill HB2368 permits isobutanol to be used as an oxygenate in gasoline for on-road vehicles in Arizona. The new law takes effect in August 2017. While the law authorizes the use of isobutanol-blended gasoline for on-road vehicles, Gevo’s isobutanol is already being sold in Arizona for off-road applications such as boating, ATVs, motorcycles and landscape equipment.  READ MORE

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