The biofuel giant’s renewable natural gas project is about to start, can the “net-zero project” eliminate fossil carbon?

  Following the successful listing of products such as bioethanol, isooctane, isobutanol and isobutene, Gevo began to play its fist in other fields.
  Gevo announced a partnership with BP, one of the world’s largest private oil companies, to sell renewable natural gas (RNG).
  Gevo began researching and developing a project to produce RNG through anaerobic digestion of animal feces in 2019. It is expected to start full operation in early 2022, and approximately 355,000 MMBtu of RNG can be produced each year.
  According to the distribution agreement reached between BP and Clean Energy Fuels, the largest RNG fuel infrastructure clean energy fuel company in the United States, RNG is expected to be sold in the California market.
  Gevo was established in 2005 and listed on the Nasdaq in 2011, focusing on the biological manufacturing of renewable fuels and renewable chemicals. The company uses synthetic biology to design yeast so that it can convert sugar in corn or sugar beets into chemicals, such as isobutanol, which can then be used in biofuels. Other products include renewable gasoline/diesel, ethanol, RNG, sustainable aviation fuel, high-protein animal feed, etc.

The slogan of the company’s website is eye-catching and grand: Fill the fuel tank with renewable energy
Used in the aviation industry

  The co-founders of Gevo are Patrick R. Gruber and Frances Arnold, both of whom have high achievements in the field of synthetic biology. Patrick is the company’s CEO and one of the co-founders of NatureWorks. He was awarded the Washington Card in 2008. Buddha Award to recognize his major contributions in industrial biotechnology and its applications in bioengineering, environmental science, biorefinery and bio-based products.
  Frances Arnold won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018 for her achievements in directed evolution of enzymes. She is a member of the board of directors of the world-renowned biotechnology company Illumina. In addition, she also holds important positions in companies such as Amyris and Codexis.

Patrick R. Gruber

Gevo financing list

  Before going public, Gevo had completed 5 rounds of financing with a financing amount of nearly 100 million U.S. dollars. It is worth noting that Khosla Ventures injected capital throughout the entire process. Its founder is Vinod Khosla, a venture capital celebrity from Silicon Valley in the United States. He has led Khosla Ventures to invest in more than 20 biofuels or related companies. Amyris, KiOR, and Gevo are at the same time. Landed on Nasdaq, but KiOR declared bankruptcy in 2014.
  After the listing, Gevo raised more than ten times through the issuance of new shares and commercial papers. The latest round of financing was in January 2021, raising US$350 million through private placement, which is also the largest fund raised by Gevo so far.
  The new generation of renewable fuel technology currently developed by Gevo overcomes the limitations of the first generation of renewable fuels. The developed hydrocarbon fuels can directly replace conventional fuels derived from crude oil without the need to modify existing fossil fuel-based engines, supply chains and equipment.
  With the help of the company’s products, the aviation industry can achieve zero carbon emissions. In addition, the renewable fuel developed by the company also eliminates pollutants emitted during the combustion of traditional fossil fuels. Other raw materials other than corn can be used to produce renewable fuels, such as sugar, molasses, agricultural residues (such as straw, bagasse, straw), wood and wood residues, and biogenic municipal solid waste.

  As early as 2019, Virgin Australia’s flight mileage using Gevo’s sustainable aviation jet fuel has reached 1 million kilometers. Gevo also recently signed an agreement with Scandinavian Aviation Systems to provide sustainable aviation jet fuel.

Eliminate “fossil carbon”

  Currently, Gevo has two renewable fuel production bases, located in Texas and Minnesota in the United States. The Hillsby operation demonstration plant in Texas, USA, was developed and operated in cooperation with South Hampton Resources. It is capable of producing 100,000 gallons of renewable hydrocarbon products each year, including renewable premium gasoline and renewable jet fuel. , These products are produced from renewable isobutanol.
  The Luverne plant in Minnesota was solely funded by Gevo and can produce 1.5 million gallons of isobutanol each year. In addition, the company also plans to expand the plant. Gevo ferments corn in Luverne to produce isobutanol, which is used to produce jet fuel at the company’s refinery in southeastern Texas. The Luverne plant also produces ethanol, which is used to add to gasoline.
  Affected by the new crown epidemic, Gevo’s Luverne factory was idle for 16 months and 30 employees were laid off. Gevo restarted production operations at the plant and is expected to produce fuel-grade renewable isobutanol (IBA) for use in sustainable aviation fuel and high-quality petroleum.
  In recent years, in order to reduce carbon dioxide and other gas emissions, countries and companies have introduced various policies. However, whether it is coal, natural gas, or natural gas from fossil waste or garbage incineration, the burning of fossil carbon will cause an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If you want to make a net-zero carbon footprint fuel, you need to eliminate fossil carbon from the entire business system as much as possible.
  The International Energy Agency has also stated that if global net carbon emissions are to be reduced to zero by 2050, investment in new fossil fuel supply projects must be stopped immediately.

  In early 2021, Gevo announced the concept of a “net-zero project”, which uses a combination of renewable energy and biological fermentation to produce high-energy-density hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel for cars, airplanes, trucks, and ships. The company plans to build the first “Net Zero Project 1” in South Dakota, which is expected to be able to produce 300 million pounds of high-protein feed and 45 million gallons of hydrocarbon fuel each year.
  Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, once said that Gevo likes challenges. The company will eliminate fossil carbon in the following ways: separate protein from carbohydrates in corn kernels, change feed to reduce animal hiccups, and capture carbon dioxide to make hydrocarbon fuels. Residual carbohydrates from protein production are used to make hydrocarbon fuels, etc.
  It is worth noting that in 2020, Gevo’s total revenue was US$5.536 million and a net loss of US$40.186 million. Up to now, the company has been at a loss. It is different from the high proportion of R&D expenses of other companies in the biological manufacturing field. , Management and operating expenses accounted for more than 70% of the total expenses, and the financial situation is not optimistic.
  But Patrick Gruber said, “The RNG plant is expected to go online in 2022, and will generate revenues of US$9 million to US$16 million per year. In general, Gev01] ~ is successfully executing our business plan.”