Will Boaters Make Gevo Rock?
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) Despite a signature partnership with Praj, Gevo’s short-term future looks strongest at the marina, where blockbuster economics apply.
So, a pretty good deal for both. Gevo potentially gets some new customers and Praj lands EPC work in deploying the isobutanol technology to its vast network of first generation ethanol plants. As previously announced, Gevo and Praj expect to license up to 250 million gallons of biobutanol capacity over the next ten years under this partnership.
Meanwhile, there’s a near-term gain: Praj will contribute engineering services to optimize Gevo’s energy and water usage at its Luverne plant, which is expected to lead to an even lower cost isobutanol process. Again, good for both partners.
And Gevo offers a path not only to isobutanol but jet fuel and some other high-value molecules — as the partners said in their announce, “It is anticipated that Praj and Gevo will also work together to commercialize Gevo’s technology for making renewable jet fuel from isobutanol in India.”
One of the attractive uses of an isobutanol fuel in the marine sector is that marinas are not obligated parties under the Renewable Fuel Standard, but isobutanol is a qualifying fuel. Hence, a marina owner can blend a gallon of renewable fuel, up to 16 percent content in the case of isobutanol, and detach the RIN that comes with every gallon of renewable fuel, and sell it into the marketplace.
But wait, there’s more.
According to e85prices.com, E10 ethanol is selling an average of $2.26 per gallon while E0 (ethanol-free gas) as favored by boat owners, has been selling at $2.61 per month. We also reported earlier this year that “as a result of this improved performance provided by isobutanol-blended gasoline, Express Lube has been selling its fuel at over a 50 percent premium in comparison to local E10 gasoline blends (10 percent ethanol).”
In the road segment, Gevo can sell all it wants but if more than 30 million gallons is sold using its technology, there’s a royalty due to Butamax. There’s no such limitation in the Alcohol-to-jet sector, or in the specialty chemical & solvents, marine, off-road, or iso-octane area.
However, the financials are not quite so tempting for the partners. READ MORE