Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a leading renewable chemicals and next-generation biofuels company, announced today it has begun startup of the world’s first commercial biobased isobutanol production plant located in Luverne, Minn.
“At 1 p.m. MDT yesterday we made history by initiating production of biobased isobutanol at commercial scale,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. “One year ago, we broke ground with a startup goal of less than 12 months and we’ve succeeded. It’s an extremely proud moment for Gevo and a tribute to the drive and ambition of our scientists, chemical engineers and production team.”
“The startup of our Luverne plant represents a major milestone for the industry and validation of our commitment to commercially produce biobased isobutanol in the first half of 2012,” said Gruber. “The next milestone will be to successfully ship product to our customers.”
Gevo retrofitted the Luverne plant to incorporate its proprietary yeast and Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology ® (GIFT ®) system to produce biobased isobutanol. Through initial operation of the Luverne plant, Gevo expects to advance its learning of large-scale production of renewable isobutanol at the site maintaining a goal of producing isobutanol at a run rate of approximately 1 million gallons per month by yearend 2012. Per its previous guidance, Gevo expects to reach full-capacity run rates by yearend 2013. “This ramp up in production is actually fast for a new technology,” said Gruber. “It would be much longer and present more execution risk if this were a greenfield plant. I like this retrofit approach.”“This is only the beginning for Gevo as we work toward our first shipment to Sasol and increasing production over the coming months,” added Gruber. “As with all plant startups we will face challenges. However, we have an outstanding team, many of whom have been through similar startups before, to address and meet these challenges. We look forward to growing into a very large business.”