Gevo evaluates conversion process for 2G feedstock-to-biofuel project in Queensland, Australia
Photo courtesy of Gevo

Gevo evaluates conversion process for 2G feedstock-to-biofuel project in Queensland, Australia

Gevo, Inc. is evaluating the most likely second-generation (2G) biomass to carbohydrate conversion process to use in conjunction with its proven carbohydrate to low carbon biofuel process, for its project in Queensland, Australia.

Recently, Gevo received part of The Queensland Waste to Biofutures (W2B) Fund to support the development of waste to biofutures projects in Queensland. The W2B fund provides targeted funding for pilot, demonstration or commercially scalable biorefinery projects in Queensland that use conventional waste streams or biomass to produce bioenergy, biofuels and high-value bioproducts.

Gevo supplied the renewable fuel used in Virgin Australia’s SAF trial at Brisbane Airport, which was completed in June last year.

“The Queensland Government was excited to be supporting Gevo’s research collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology to turn Queensland sugarcane waste and wood waste into SAF,” said Queensland’s Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick. Speaking from the Bio Based Aviation and Marine Fuels Summit in Gladstone, Queensland, he added: “Gevo has recognized that Queensland is the place to be when it comes to the future of biofuels and we look forward to an ongoing partnership which has the potential to bring even more business to Queensland, as demand for biofuels grows. In addition to offering environmental benefits by reducing the carbon footprint of plane travel, this project will also help position Queensland as a world-leading location for investment in the manufacture and distribution of this fuel in the global bioproducts and services market. Gevo’s participation in the successful sustainable aviation fuel trial at the Brisbane Airport led to Queensland being considered as the location for the company’s first biorefinery outside of the United States.

“Having the ability to turn our agriculture waste into sustainable fuel means more jobs in agriculture and biofutures across our regions,” Dick said.

Presently, at Gevo’s facility in Luverne, Minnesota, U.S.A., Gevo fractionates grain from sustainably produced crops to produce protein and animal feed while using the residual carbohydrate portion of the grain for fermentation to produce the intermediate chemical isobutanol. Isobutanol is then chemically transformed using a hydrocarbon processing facility into renewable gasoline, diesel and SAF meeting ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons). The SAF made by this process has very low sulfur, low particulates, and slightly higher energy density than petroleum-based jet fuel.

“We are thrilled to be awarded funding from W2B, which will allow us to further our assessment of a contemplated second generation feedstock to biofuel project in Queensland. Queensland is rich in renewable biomass resources and has expressed the desire to invest in the future of biofuels. This opportunity opens the door for the development of a project that not only supplies low carbon gasoline to Queensland, but also the possibility to supply commercial quantities of 2G sustainable aviation fuel to the Brisbane Airport, expanding upon our demonstrations of SAF supply to commercial airlines like those conducted with Virgin Australia over the last several months,” said Patrick Gruber, Gevo chief executive officer.

For every gallon of renewable hydrocarbons produced, like SAF, Gevo also produces approximately 10 pounds of protein that goes into the food supply chain and can sequester up to two pounds of carbon dioxide as carbon into the soil making it one of the only renewable jet fuels to produce both food and fuel while sequestering carbon dioxide and lowering the GHG emissions as compared to traditional fossil-based jet fuel.