Gevo reopens Luverne plant after 15-month shutdown to make jet fuel ingredient

Source: By Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune • Posted: Monday, August 9, 2021

Gevo reopened its Luverne, Minn., biofuel plant this week after a 15-month shutdown, though it will focus only on aviation fuel, nixing ethanol production.

Englewood, Colo.-based Gevo closed the plant and laid off its 30 workers last spring after the coronavirus pandemic whacked the economy, decimating demand for motor and aviation fuels.

Gevo ferments corn in Luverne to produce isobutanol, which is used to produce jet fuel. The Minnesota plant had also made ethanol, which is added to gasoline.

The company announced earlier this week that it had reopened the Luverne plant. “Multiple former employees” have been rehired, and 11 more will be added soon, Gevo said in a statement.

Gevo said it eventually hopes to get its Luverne employee count back to 30.

“The team in Luverne has done an exceptional job restarting isobutanol operations with a focus on continuous improvement for future growth,” Paul Bloom, president of Gevo subsidiary Agri-Energy, said in a statement.

Bloom also said that the Luverne plant has the potential to make products for “specialty markets” other than jet fuel and gasoline.

“We expect to announce more in coming months as the rest of the plans come together,” he said.

Gevo had said that it plans to expand the Luverne plant.