Gevo and Axens ally on ethanol-to-jet technology and sustainable aviation fuel commercial project development

Source: By Green Car Congress • Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2021

Gevo and Axens North America have entered into an agreement that establishes a strategic alliance aimed at accelerating the commercialization of sustainable ethanol-to-jet (ETJ) projects in the United States.

As part of the alliance, Axens brings technologies with more than 60 related patents; engineering packages; proprietary catalysts; and certain proprietary equipment required to convert ethanol into jet fuel. Axens would also provide process guarantees for commercial ETJ projects.

Gevo expects to develop, own, and operate ETJ plants to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), utilizing its expertise in renewable alcohol production and technologies; Net-Zero business model; project financing expertise; customer relationships, and contracts.

Axens has a long history of developing and commercializing best-in-class technology to convert olefins, such as ethylene, propylene, and butylene into hydrocarbon fuels and blend stocks such as gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel:

  • > 60 commercial olefin oligomerization technology deployments

  • > 30 years of commercial operation

  • Leader in the field of homogeneous catalysis research recognized by the 2005 Nobel award Prize in chemistry to IFPEN’s Yves Chauvin

  • > 60 related patents across this technology chain

Instead of making olefins from petroleum, it is now possible to make them from ethanol and butanol, so the same commercially proven technologies can be deployed to make renewable hydrocarbon fuels.

This agreement not only strengthens Axens’ existing relationship with Gevo that currently includes technology development and deployment in the isobutanol derived fuels, but reiterates Axens’ commitment to Gevo’s growth potential, while recognizing Axens’ innovative, commercially-proven, and differentiated technology bundle approach. Gevo’s approach makes it possible to decarbonize the ethanol supply chain and thus utilize technologies originally developed and well-proven for fossil-hydrocarbon production to produce renewable, drop-in fuels.

Finally, we are convinced that Gevo’s breakthrough approach to scientifically tracking and accounting for carbon, emissions, and sustainability across the whole of the business system is a true differentiator that will enable growth of SAF production via carbohydrate derived alcohols.

—Jean Sentenac, CEO of Axens

Our customers want SAF and other low-carbon hydrocarbons sooner, rather than later. The collaboration between Gevo and Axens is expected to allow Gevo to rapidly partner with existing ethanol producers to deploy proven technologies at commercial scales consistent with the airline industry’s sustainability goals. We see that there is great potential to convert ethanol into SAF and other hydrocarbons. Additionally, there is synergy with Gevo proprietary isobutanol production technology that is expected to result in unique product blending synergies for producing low-carbon gasoline, SAF, and renewable diesel.

We know from our work on the Net-Zero business model that it is possible to drive the fossil-based GHG and related emissions footprint very low or even negative while producing drop-in hydrocarbon fuels like SAF and we think the model can apply to ETJ too.

—Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, CEO of Gevo

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