Total Cray Valley, Gevo take renewable isoamylene capacity to demo scale

6:04 AM, 4th May 2021
Total Cray Valley is a global supplier of specialty chemical additives, hydrocarbon specialty chemical, and liquid & powder tackifying resins used as ingredients in adhesives, rubbers, polymers, coatings etc. It uses isoamylene in resin manufacturing. (Representative Image/File Photo)

ENGLEWOOD, US: Total Cray Valley and Gevo Inc announced the successful completion of phase 1 of their Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to upgrade fusel oils into renewable isoamylene. The companies are now seeking to advance to phase 2 of the JDA, which will allow for scale up of Gevo's technology at a demonstration scale.

Fusel oils, made during the production of ethanol, equate to approximately 1 million tons of bio-based feedstock. The JDA, signed in 2020, is based on Gevo's chemical-based catalytic processes that selectively convert low-value fusel oils, a mixture of alcohols that are byproducts from fermentation processes such as ethanol or isobutanol production, into higher-value renewable chemicals such as isoprene, ketones, aldehydes, or olefins, in this case isoamylene.

Isoamylene is used in a diverse set of applications, including resins, pesticides, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceuticals, healthcare products, adhesives, antioxidants, and UV stabilizers. For Cray Valley, isoamylene is used as a raw material in resin manufacturing.

The companies are currently exploring options for scale-up and commercialization of the technology, which would provide the US market with a renewable source of isoamylenes, a world first.

"We were very satisfied with the results of pilot tests during Phase 1. Gevo's technology was found to be robust and flexible and the initial economic assessment shows potential for a profitable business,” said Valerie Goff, senior vice president, polymers at Total. "This JDA between Total Cray Valley and Gevo is an excellent example of collaboration to develop the materials of the future produced from bio-based feedstock and meets a strong demand from our customers."

"The team has achieved an important milestone with the success of phase 1 to deliver plant based, low carbon solutions to our partner, Total Cray Valley. We look forward to continuing our track record of success at the demonstration scale," said Dr. Paul Bloom, chief technology and innovation officer at Gevo.

"This is a new way to think about decarbonization and biogenic carbon sequestration. Now this byproduct from ethanol, instead of being burned, can be converted into usable products that take CO2 out of the atmosphere while delivering drop-in performance in final products on the market today. For every pound of biobased isoamylene made and used in durable products like resins, it is essentially the equivalent of sequestering 2.5 pounds of biogenic CO2 from the atmosphere, compared to that carbon being combusted. Another example of how Gevo is advancing our focus to net zero and beyond,” said Bloom.

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