MALAYSIA – US chemicals and biofuels company Gevo Inc is building a cellulosic biomass isobutanol facility in the northeastern state of Terengganu.
Gevo’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Chris Ryan, has signed a collaborative agreement with representatives from the Malaysian government’s East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (BiotechCorp) and the State Government of Terengganu.
The company is converting existing ethanol plants into biorefineries to make renewable building block products for the chemical and fuel industries. Gevo plans to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits.
After a year of ongoing development work in Malaysia, Gevo is now in the final stages of evaluating additional partners to complete the biomass to isobutanol value chain. The company says the collaboration offers a diversified feedstock, organized approach and the opportunity to develop an economically advantaged business plan to meet the expanding Southeast Asian market.
“The technology for a sustainable cellulosic feedstock is expected to be commercially viable this year, so now is the appropriate time to begin our cellulosic platform,” said Ryan. “We’re excited to follow the demand, especially since Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing chemical markets, and Malaysia provides an excellent growth opportunity for Gevo.
“Our ambition is to move toward definitive agreements by the second half of 2012 with a target of having a cellulosic plant operational by late 2015 or early 2016.”
The current plan under consideration is to construct a fermentation facility to produce bio isobutanol made from cellulosic biomass. The proposed site is in the State of Terengganu at the world-class Biorefinery Complex in Kertih.