Gevo acquires Agi-Energy’s ethanol plant

In the city of Luverne, Minnesota, US, biofuels company Gevo is to acquire an ethanol plant currently owned by biofuels producer Agri-Energy.

Once the deal is closed, Gevo will begin retrofitting the facility to produce isobutanol in addition to ethanol. While the retrofit is taking place it is thought that the plant will continue with its production of ethanol. The plant is predicted to begin making isobutanol at the beginning of 2012.

‘This transaction is another important step in achieving our goal of bringing commercial volume of renewable isobutanol to the market as soon as possible,’ the CEO of Gevo Patrick Gruber said. ‘We expect the facility will be the first among many and want it to be a model project for the future.’

Gevo’s technology, GIFT, which has been designed to fit into existing ethanol-producing plants, also has the ability the produce isobutanol from a number of feedstocks, including corn, wheat, sorghum, barley and sugarcane.

Agri-Energy’s founding member and co-op coordinator David Kolsrud said: ‘We see biobutanol as the next logical step in the industry’s development. We believe isobutanol can be sold into many markets and has product attributes that make it a compelling product for current ethanol producers.’

Source: Green Street Journal

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Our Take:
Not only is grain-based ethanol the gateway to advanced biofuels, but it will continue to complement the spectrum of farm-based energy solutions, because it will continue to generate revenue/profits/investment capital for farmers.

The perhaps unique feature of the farmer-investor is that he or she has a greater interest in the local area where the biofuel energy production facility is sited, than any other kind of investor. The productivity of the farm operation is enhanced, its profitability linked to the health of not only the biorefinery, but also the surrounding community.

The farmer invests not in spite of, but because of where he or she lives.

If you take coal or natural gas out of the ground in America it is domestically-produced fuel, certainly, and this benefits the nation’s balance of trade, energy security and wealth. But when you grow energy on the farm you are strengthening America’s food security, as well as its energy security, by ensuring the prosperity of America’s independent family farmers. That’s why ethanol and biodiesel can serve now as a building block for America’s renewable energy future, and why it will grow into a strong, firm foundation for that energy future. Remove farm-based biofuels now and you hobble the efforts of Gevo, Iogen (wheat-straw based cellulosic ethanol), Genera Energy/Danisco (Switchgrass-based ethanol) to launch their production of next generation energy.

Farm-based energy is the only force out there that can break the monopoly of big oil on our motor fuel markets, so if we want to give switchgrass and other cellulose ethanol a chance, we as a country have to invest in grain-based ethanol and oilseed-based biodiesel by supporting a move to E15, revive the biodiesel tax credit, and direct investment in infrastructure and auto production that will make E85 a big part of America’s motor fuel consumption. 

 Now is the time when we can open the door wide for bioenergy, or allow it to be slammed shut.


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