Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gevo Lining Up for IPO, More Partners


Advanced biofuels company Gevo is lining up new partners, and preparing for an IPO where it hopes to raise close to $100 million in funding.
Gevo uses synthetic biology and chemical technology to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing fuel and chemical products...

...Gevo says it is developing a pipeline of future customers for its isobutanol and its derivative chemical products across multiple global chemicals and fuels markets. In anticipation of targeted initial commercial production of isobutanol in the first half of 2012, it has entered into a number of letters of intent and is negotiating the final terms of several definitive agreements with future customers and partners in the chemicals and fuels markets, including:
Lanxess Inc., a leading chemicals company;
Total Petrochemicals USA, Inc., an affiliate of Total S.A., a major oil and gas integrated company;
Toray Industries, Inc., a leader in the development of fibers, plastics and chemicals;
United Air Lines, Inc., a major commercial airline; and
CDTECH, a leading hydrocarbon technology provider for the petrochemical and refining industry.
Gevo is also in discussions with major refiners that have indicated an interest in forming partnerships with us to manufacture renewable jet fuel using our isobutanol. It also intends to develop relationships with companies that are engineering and piloting the processes necessary to convert isobutanol to bio-based jet fuel and then license this technology to refiners and petrochemical companies that intend to use its isobutanol and other bio-based butanols for the production of biobased jet fuel. _GCC

According to energy venturist Vinod Khosla, Gevo is one of the "good guys."

Archive of Gevo news articles from Biofuels Digest

Some behind the scenes legal wrangling between Gevo and Butamax

Gevo's business approach emphasises business and industrial partnerships, building upon a specific fermentation product: isobutanol from engineered bacteria. Butanol is significantly superior to ethanol as a fuel blend, as a drop-in fuel, and as a chemical feedstock.
Gevo used synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to develop its biocatalyst to make isobutanol at high concentrations and without the typical expression co-products. Economic yield from carbohydrates and robust operations are the hallmark of all successful industrial biotechnology projects. Our current generation biocatalyst operates on fermentable sugars from grain crops, sugar cane and sugar beets. Future generation biocatalysts are in development for mixed sugars from biomass so when the conversion technology is commercially available, we will be able to produce cellulosic butanol.

Although isobutanol is a naturally occurring alcohol, high concentrations inhibit the growth of microorganisms. In order to operate our fermentation at optimum conditions for the biocatalyst, and within the process conditions found in ethanol plants, Gevo developed a unique separation technology. The solution uses a process innovation for continuous separation of the isobutanol as it is produced. Gevo provides the fully integrated solution to its ethanol production partners via flexible commercial arrangements. _Gevo
The company seems to be working on fitting all of the pieces of its business plan together before it enters the marketplace. Here is a history of Gevo press releases.

Al Fin energy analysts require more solid information to assess Gevo's chances realistically. The patent infringement lawsuit from Butamax is just one of many bumps on the road to success for Gevo. Getting high yields of isobutanol via microbial fermentation is not an easy task. We would be surprised to see Gevo sustainably scaling up its isobutanol process within 5 years.

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