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Marine News from the Great Lakes

Gevo Makes Renewable Low-Carbon Biofuels That Help Boats Run Better

Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gevo, Inc., is a biofuel company that produces renewable fuel to help boats run better while reducing their carbon footprint. All boaters who use gasoline engines can benefit from isobutanol, an oxygenate blendstock that mixes with gasoline, and improves performance and reliability. Boaters understand the impact of greenhouse gases better than most people because they see the effects fossil-fuel emissions have on the environment, as the increased acidity harms fragile marine ecosystems.

Gevo uses its vast knowledge of synthetic biology and industrial chemistry techniques to determine new ways to produce low-carbon, renewable biofuel and chemicals. Creating proprietary processes, the company builds the molecular structure of fuels or chemicals, then figures out how to scale it up to create marketable alternatives to fossil fuels or petro-based chemicals.

Gevo makes isobutanol from inedible No. 2 corn, which is considered an excellent gasoline oxygenate blendstock. Isobutanol, sometimes called “biobutanol,” has numerous advantages:

  • Isobutanol does not absorb water – a key feature for the open-vented fuel systems most boats use. Isobutanol also stays mixed with gasoline, rather than phase-separating with any water in the system.
  • It has a chemical makeup that is not corrosive on marine fuel lines and fuel-system components.
  • It will not damage fiberglass fuel tanks, nor will it cause galvanic corrosion in aluminum fuel tanks.
  • The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has endorsed isobutanol as a fuel oxygenate blendstock.
  • Gevo takes carbon out of every step of its production process, so the carbon footprint is substantially lower than even other biofuels.

“The marine industry is an important market for Gevo's isobutanol, and the technical properties of isobutanol shine in this application,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are delighted with the results of the testing and to have the endorsement of the NMMA. Isobutanol has proven to be an effective, highly compatible biofuel for the recreational boating industry."

Gevo has also recently developed a process to make low-carbon, renewable diesel. When this fuel is introduced it will help meet increased demand since the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) went into effect. The renewable diesel is expected to reduce particulates and CO2 emissions, and will help the marine sector reduce sulfur emissions to meet new international water regulations beginning in 2020. The proprietary, breakthrough process will convert low-carbon isobutanol or low-value “fusel oils”—a mixture of alcohols that are byproducts from fermentation processes—into renewable diesel fuel. Stayed tuned for more developments on biodiesel for the marine market.

Dr. Gruber, accompanied by Blue Creative Group and public relations partner Rushton Gregory, will meet with marine-media editors to communicate to their audience of engaged boaters, the details about isobutanol blendstock and the prospect of renewable diesel, as well as what sets Gevo apart from other biofuel companies.

For more information on Gevo, visit www.gevo.com.


tags: Environmental Impact

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