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Gevo ‘breakthrough’ processes convert low-value products to renewable diesel

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Renewable fuels manufacturer Gevo has developed ‘breakthrough’ processes that convert either isobutanol or fusel oils into renewable diesel.

Fusel oils is a mixture of alcohols that are by-products from fermentation processes such as alcohol production, which has low value. The renewable diesel to be produced from low-carbon isobutanol and fusel oils is expected to compete on price with petroleum-based equivalents, as well as reducing particulates and carbon dioxide emissions.

The resulting low-carbon renewable diesel is used as transportation fuel in diesel engines. Demand for the fuel has increased since both the Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard came into effect.

The marine sector is also looking to reduce sulphur emissions ahead of new international water regulations coming into effect from 1 January 2020, and Gevo expects this compliance to open up another market for its products.

Commenting on the breakthrough, CEO Patrick Gruber said: “Not only are we going after the whole gallon to replace fossil-based fuels, we are going after the whole slate of renewable low-carbon liquid fuel products.

“In addition to being a low-carbon intensity fuel, our product has no sulphur or particulates. This technology leverages off our platform of low-carbon alcohols and I give credit to our catalytic chemistry team, led by Jonathan Smith, for this breakthrough.”